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Public opinion polling is the subject of thousands of books and articles, dating back many years. As the world changes, a continuing flow of literature addresses the new challenges for polling. The list that follows is intended to be suggestive rather than exhaustive. These books are a good place to start.

Annotated bibliographies

For a comprehensive review of literature covering all aspects of polling Graham Walden's bibliographies are an essential first stop.

Walden, Graham R. Survey Research Methodology, 1990-1999: An Annotated Bibliography. Bibliographies and Indexes in Law and Political Science, no. 28. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002. 433p.

Walden, Graham R. Polling and Survey Research Methods, 1935-1979: An Annotated Bibliography. Bibliographies and Indexes in Law and Political Science, no. 25. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996. 583p.

Walden, Graham R. Public Opinion Polls and Survey Research: A Selective Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Guides and Studies from the 1980s. Public Affairs and Administration Series, edited by James S. Bowman, vol.24. Garland Reference Library of Social Science, vol. 575. New York, NY: Garland Publishing, 1990. 306p.


Readers interested in the history of polling will find these books useful.

Geer, John G., ed. Public Opinion and Polling around the World: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004. 897p.

Herbst, Susan. Numbered Voices: How Opinion Polling Has Shaped American Politics. American Politics and Political Economy Series, edited by Benjamin I. Page. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1993. 227p.

Moore, David W. The Superpollsters: How They Measure and Manipulate Public Opinion in America. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1995. 426p.

Sheatsley, Paul B. and Warren J. Mitofsky, eds. A Meeting Place: The History of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. Ann Arbor, MI: American Association for Public Opinion Research, 1992. 321p.

Young, Michael L., ed. The Classics of Polling. Metuchen, N.J. Scarecrow Press, 1990. 527p.

Also see the American Association for Public Opinion Research listing, "Fifty Books That Have Significantly Shaped Public Opinion Research," available here.

How to read polls

These books explain how polls work and what to look for in polling information.

Asher, Herbert. Polling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should Know. 8th ed. Washington, DC: CQ Press College, 2010. 275p.

Babbie, Earl. The Basics of Social Research. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2010. 552p.

Fowler, Floyd J., Jr. Survey Research Methods. 4th ed. Applied Social Research Methods Series, vol.1. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 2009. 216p.

Traugott, Michael and Paul Lavrakas. The Voter's Guide to Election Polls. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. 213p.

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