The History and Methodology of Public Opinion Polling | Connecticut Public Radio

The History and Methodology of Public Opinion Polling

Public opinion polling has a pretty extensive history here in the United States. Since the 19th century, interest groups, researchers, think tanks, media outlets have all used polls to measure the favorability of a wide range of political, social, and economic issues. 

Here at WNPR, we’re constantly keeping an eye on the latest polls and surveys relevant to issues in our state. That's why wanted to take a closer look at some of the work that goes into creating and carrying them out.

This hour, we sit down with some polling experts to talk the methodology of opinion polling. We also learn a bit about polling history here in the U.S. And later, we talk to someone from Microsoft’s new ‘Prediction Lab’-- an interactive platform that offers a unique approach to the way polling is done.


  • Jennifer Dineen - Program director of the Graduate Program in Survey Research at UConn; Director of the UConn Poll
  • Michael Traugott - Director and research professor in the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan; a past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research
  • Andrew Gelman - Professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University
  • David Rothschild - Microsoft researcher