What Are Polls and Surveys?
And Why Are They Conducted?
A poll or a survey is a method of collecting information from people by asking them questions. Most polls involve a standardized questionnaire, and they usually collect the information from a sample of people rather than the entire population.
People with different interests conduct polls and surveys for many different reasons. Sometimes people even "fake" polls on the telephone as a way to sell people some product or to raise money for a particular cause.
Candidates use polls as an essential part of the intelligence-gathering operation of their campaign. Polls provide a candidate with information about what the voters are thinking and how they are inclined to vote. Many candidates also use poll results to stimulate contributions to their campaigns or to dissuade people from contributing to another candidate.
Media organizations conduct polls to collect information for use in news stories and to form judgments about what kinds of news coverage to provide. A substantial portion of the news derived from polls involves reporting who is ahead and who is behind, and by how much. At the end of the campaign, media organizations use polls to project the winner of the race.
Political scientists and other researchers interested in the dynamics of campaigns and elections use polls to learn about how the candidates behave