A consumer's guide to the polls.

Science, technology, and life.
Oct. 28 2004 5:31 PM

A Consumer's Guide to the Polls

Read the ingredients before you buy.

(Continued from Page 3)

Adjusts results to fit expected party shares of electorate:No.

Battleground

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Publishes entire questionnaire with results: Yes.

Where: Here. Click the "questionnaire" link for any week.

Screens people out based on past failure to vote: No.

Likely voter test:They ask how likely you are to vote. If you're at least somewhat likely, you're in.

Raises these questions before asking whom you'd vote for: None before asking the first time ("unaided ballot"). Then the interviewer asks about right/wrong track, your top issue, whether you approve of Bush's job performance, and whether you view each candidate favorably. Then they ask you to pick a candidate again ("aided ballot"), and that's the number featured in the pollsters' report.

Presses undecideds to pick a candidate: Yes.

Average boost from pressing, last three samples:Kerry +1, Bush +1.33.

Disclosure of boost factor: Published.

May weight your vote differently depending on your: Race. The pollsters assume turnout will be 80 percent white, 10 percent black, 6 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent other. This is a compromise between the Republican firm (Tarrance Group) and Democratic firm (Lake Snell Perry and Associates) that run the poll.