A Consumer's Guide to the Polls
Read the ingredients before you buy.
Updated Thursday, Oct. 28, 2004, at 5:31 PM
Adjusts results to fit expected party shares of electorate:No.
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.
Will Saletan covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
David Kenner is a former Slate intern.
Louisa Thomas is on the editorial staff of The New Yorker.
Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.