The Voter's Guide to Election Polls

By Michael W. Traugott; Paul J. Lavrakas | Go to book overview

Glossary

AAPOR The American Association for Public Opinion Research. A professional organization whose members are engaged in the study of public opinion. This includes individual private-sector, academic, and government survey researchers. AAPOR was founded in 1946 to promote high-quality survey research and to encourage public disclosure of the methods and purposes of polls and surveys. (See alsoNCPP; CASRO.)

Advance contact An attempt to alert or "warm up" sampled respondents to the fact that they have been chosen to participate in a poll. This is typically done by sending a letter notifying them that they soon will be contacted by an interviewer. The advance contact usually explains the nature and purpose of the study, who is sponsoring it, who is conducting it, and what assurances of confidentiality the respondents can expect. (See alsoCover letter.)

Approval ratings Closed-end poll questions used to measure the extent to which the public approves of the manner in which the president (or some other elected official) is handling current domestic and foreign policy issues facing the nation. The questions employ responses that often range from "strongly approve" to "strongly disapprove." These measures have been taken several times each year for half a century and often are used to contrast approval levels of a current elected official with previous holders of the same office. (See also Favorability ratings.)

Attitudinal questions Closed-end poll questions to measure enduring or general "beliefs" about various political issues. Often posed as statements to which a respondent is asked to "agree" or "disagree." For example, "A woman should

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