Objective: The main objective of this project is to make you more familiar with political polling. You’ll be challenged to learn more about how polls are conducted and what they may reveal.
Orientation: Review Chapter 11, Section 1 in your online textbook. This section addresses the political system, public opinion, and polling, which you need to fully understand before beginning your project. Pay attention to any specific information that supports your project topic, and take notes on what you???ve learned.
Procedure: Your project has four parts. For each part, you’ll need to write out the answers to some questions. Your final answers must be posted in your journal under a general heading called ???Project: Polls and Politics.??? Be sure to identify your answers under the headings ???Part 1,??? ???Part 2,??? and ???Part 3,” and “Part 4.??? Your project will be due at the end of Week 17. Be sure to manage your time well. You have a lot of work to do and keep in mind that there’s a Unit Test at the end of Week 17.
Part 1 In your online textbook, you???ve been introduced to the importance of representative samples. To extend your knowledge, use an online search engine to research the terms “statistical sampling” and “sample size.”
Then, answer this question: Why is a random representative sample (called a probability sample) important for getting accurate poll results? Write out your answer in a short essay of 3???4 paragraphs, and post your answer in your journal.
Part 2 On page 286, read the ???Civics Skills Workshop.??? Review the four questions at the end under ???Applying the Skill,??? and post your answers in your journal.
1. Does the question posed by the pollster meet the standards for a good question? Why or why not?
2. What are the facts collected and presented by the poll?
3. Which response was given by the largest number of the respondents to the poll?
4. “There are few people who never trust the government in Washington.” According to the poll’s results, is this a valid generalization? Explain your answer
Part 3 Visit this Web site: http://www.pollingreport.com/politics.htm
The results of a large number of up-to-date political polls are posted on this site. They come from many different major polling groups and are organized by date, with the most recent polls first. Read some of the poll results and the amazing findings on many issues. Then, review the following questions and post your answers in your journal:
Question 1: Review the CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of September 8???11, 2005. How many sampled adults say they would vote for a woman for president?
Question 2: Locate the CBS News Poll for December 9???10, 2000. How many respondents think vote-counting needs to be made more accurate?
Question 3: Scan down to CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll March 9???11, 2001. What percentage of respondents either strongly or moderately favor new federal laws limiting the amount of money that an individual or group can contribute to national political parties?
Part 4 To learn more about the uses of polls in measuring public opinion, use an online search engine to research the concept of the ???Presidential job approval rating.??? This type of poll is commonly made throughout the service of U.S. presidents, and is designed to measure how well the public thinks the president is doing his or her job. You can research job approval ratings for the current U.S. president or a past U.S. president.
In your research, find an article that discusses how a president has either risen or fallen in a public opinion poll. (You???ll need to find a fairly detailed article that discusses the specifics of the opinion poll used.) Then, answer these questions: In the article you???ve read, how exactly was public opinion measured for the purposes of the poll? Who was surveyed for the poll (i.e., adult citizens, registered voters, college students)? How many people were surveyed, and what methods were used (telephone, personal interview, etc.)? What was the exact wording of the questions used in the poll? What was the margin of error? And finally, do you feel that the poll was well designed and representative of the entire voting population?