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September, 2008

The Opinion Makers:

An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls

About the Book: (From the Beacon Press catalogue)

A former senior editor at the Gallup Poll exposes how pollsters don’t report public opinion, they manufacture it

Since the mid-1930s, Americans’ opinions on everything from presidents to products have been a central part of news reporting. Today, the news media dominates the polling industry. David W. Moore—lauded as a “scholarly crusader” by Herbert Mitgang in the New York Times—exposes an industry intent on serving headlines rather than democracy and the sometimes disastrous consequences for all Americans, from the myth of public support for the invasion of Iraq to early presidential frontrunners selected not by voters but by pollsters.

In this presidential election year, Moore offers a fresh approach to the candidates’ polling percentages including that pre-election polls conceal rampant voter indecision. He profiles pollsters’ tactics and demonstrates why public policy polls are almost always wrong. Going beyond a clear and critical argument for reform, Moore outlines steps to make polls deliver on their promise to monitor the pulse of democracy.

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       The Opinion Makers: Hard Copy

Beacon Press

     The Opinion Makers: Paperback

Beacon Press

HOW TO STEAL AN ELECTION: The Inside Story of How George Bush's Brother and FOX Network Miscalled the 2000 Election and Changed the Course of History
ISBN# 1560259299

This is the inside story of how Jeb Bush persuaded the Fox network to call the presidential election for his brother George W. Bush on Election Night 2000. It was one phone call to Fox — the details of which are revealed in this book for the first time — that propelled George W. Bush into the leading position for 43rd president of the United States. Even though the erroneous statement had to be retracted within two hours, the damage done by this false call to Al Gore's chances of winning the election were incalculable.

Format: Paperback, 210 pp Pub Date: September 2006

To read an excerpt from How To Steal An Election, click here.

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How They Measure and Manipulate Public Opinion in America

ISBN# 1568580231

This book is an account of the birth and development of public policy polling in the United States, as well as an examination of the most influential people who are responsible for the polls.

It begins with a prologue chapter that reveals the emergence of the media pollsters as the new gurus of the American psyche, symbolized in part by the well-publicized confrontation between the ABC News/Washington Post pollsters on the one hand, and Shere Hite on the other, the author whose books on sex and love in the 1970s and 1980s presented a dismal picture of men's relations with women - but whose claims were largely contradicted by the results of the "scientific" media polls.

The criticisms of Hite echoed the denunciations leveled by George Gallup against The Literary Digest a half century earlier, whose highly respected poll at the time relied on sampling methods
similar to those used by Hite. The book recounts how Gallup proved his new “scientific” polling to be superior to that of the Digest, which predicted Alf Landon to win the presidency over Franklin Delano Roosevelt, while Gallup accurately predicted the reverse.

Louis Harris emerged as Gallup’s major rival, introducing numerous innovations into the polling profession. But some of Harris’ methods and passion, along with his obvious biases, elicited as much criticism as praise.

The book also examines the rise of the campaign polls, profiling both the major Democratic and Republican presidential pollsters of the time – including Pat Caddell, Peter Hart, Richard Wirthlin, Bob Teeter, and Stanley Greenberg.

The rise of the media polls came in direct response to campaign pollsters, some of whom would provide reporters with partial or manipulated data about their candidates, leaving the press with tainted information. So profoundly have the media polls permeated our society that today they have become the new guardians of democracy, monitoring what Gallup called the “pulse of democracy.”

Still, as the book shows, monitoring the pulse of democracy can be difficult. Slight differences in question wording, or in the placement of the questions in the interviews, can have profound consequences for how people respond to the polls.

"Most of all, the story of polling is the story of an exciting enterprise, perhaps the most important social science development in the 20th Century. And it is the story of passionate, intelligent, and even daring individuals, for whom the excitement of new discoveries is continually met by this activity that is part science and part art. For in a sense, polling is as old as the human race. It represents the desire among all of us to understand and share with our fellow human beings the thoughts and experiences that life has given us."

Format: Paperback, 426 pp Pub Date: 1992, 1995


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