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A.Word.A.Day--gallup poll

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gallup poll (GAL-uhp pol) noun

A survey of public opinion.

[After George Horace Gallup (1901-1984), US statistician, who popularized the use of such surveys.]

How does a survey of only 1000 people determine the opinion of millions? The idea is to use a representative cross-section of the population. It's somewhat similar to the way we can tell the sweetness of the whole cup of tea by sampling just a spoonful. How can such an assessment go wrong? If the sampling is not representative, just as when the sugar is not well-mixed in the cup, the taste test will be wrong.

"In the 30-year old People's Choice Awards in America, the winner is chosen after carrying out a gallup poll." Joseph Batte; Take It Or Leave It, PAM Awards Are Ok; New Vision (Kampala, Uganda); Dec 10, 2004.

"Polls routinely find a solid majority of Austrians against the idea. A September Gallup poll showed 76 percent against membership talks and 68 percent saying Turkey would not even be ready for membership in the next 10-20 years." Austria Seeks Open Option for Turkey; Baku Today (Azerbaijan); Dec 1, 2004.

This week's theme: eponyms.


I am in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of a gift as to the spirit in which it is offered. -Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist, and poet (1850-1894)

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