- Gallup Poll
- The man who lent his name to the famous poll-taking organization was George Horace Gallup (1901-1984). He was born in Jefferson, Iowa, and attended school in his native state, graduating from Iowa State University. He then became professor of journalism at Iowa and later taught at Drake and Northwestern universities.Gallup began his studies of sampling methods by checking items in newspapers and magazines. His method set a standard for the field. After spending some time in market research, he began experimenting in 1933 with public opinion polls, and in 1935 he conceived the idea for national poll-taking. In 1936 he correctly predicted the outcome of that year's presidential election and acquired national fame. During the previous year Gallup had founded at Princeton, New Jersey, the American Institute of Public Opinion "to measure and report public opinion on political and social issues of the day without regard to the Tightness or wisdom of the views expressed." His method for measuring the public viewpoint was to have trained interviewers question a small but carefully selected cross section of the population. Previously straw polls were the method employed to predict political results. The Gallup poll was the first "scientific" sampling of public opinion.The Gallup organization spread throughout the Western world. Its polls have been used in many countries to forecast popular opinion in politics and in other fields, particularly cinema.This quasi-scientific method is not the same as one involving physical science. In the presidential election of 1948, Gallup predicted a stunning defeat for Harry Truman. Both Gallup and Thomas Dewey ate crow. As did, famously, the Chicago Daily Tribune.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.