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:Yes.
Expected shares: 42.3 percent Dem, 42.3 percent GOP. This, too, is a compromise between the firms.
CBS/New York Times
Publishes entire questionnaire with results: Yes.
Where: Here. Click to get the summary page for any poll, then click the link to "complete questions and responses."
Screens people out based on past failure to vote: Yes.
Likely voter test: They assign you a probability factor between zero and one based on your voting history, level of attention paid to the campaign, date of registration, length of residence, and stated probability of voting in this election. They multiply your vote by that factor when tabulating the results. For their thorough and exemplary disclosure of this methodology, click here. *
Raises these questions before asking whom you'd vote for: None.
Presses undecideds to pick a candidate: Yes when asking Bush vs. Kerry, but not when asking Bush vs. Kerry vs. Nader.
Average boost from pressing, last three samples:Unknown.
Disclosure of boost factor: Unpublished.
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.