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Encyclopedia Entry

Gallup Poll

David W. Moore

The Gallup Poll is the longest continuous measure of public opinion in the United States, having been conducted for more than 70 years, and is the most widely recognized brand name in the field of survey research. On Sunday, October 20, 1935, George Gallup officially launched his "scientific" polling operation nationwide with "America Speaks: The National Weekly Poll of Public Opinion." About three dozen newspapers carried his first release, including The Washington Post , whose editor heralded the event by hiring a blimp to pull a streamer over the city to announce the new column. Gallup called his operation the American Institute of Public Opinion, which he located in Princeton, New Jersey, where he also lived. To attract subscribers, he made a money-back guarantee that his poll-based prediction of the 1936 presidential election would be more accurate than that of The Literary Digest , which had correctly predicted Herbert Hoover's ...

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