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Pros and cons of public opinion polls - Jason Robert Jaffe

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How do public opinion polls work? And, more importantly, are they accurate? Jason Robert Jaffe reveals the complexities and biases of polls and provides tips on how to think about polls as we make everyday decisions.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Darcy Vorhees
  • Educator Jason Robert Jaffe
  • Animator Marissa Hutchins, Sarah Johnson
  • Artist Tom Beuerlein
  • Narrator Jason Robert Jaffe
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Considered the father of modern public opinion polling, George Gallup created the Gallup organization renowned for its scientific polling.
Another reputable, scientific polling company is Rasmussen Reports.
How else could you improve the accuracy of polls? Some people think that if the sample had some skin in the game (a greater interest) in the results, they would choose their answers more carefully. To that end, the Iowa Electronic Markets creates a public opinion tracking poll by treating presidential elections like the stock market wherein individuals can purchase shares of candidates.
How did Nate Silver famously predict the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election so accurately? By looking at polls across America (and weighting the polls based on their historical accuracy). Check out his blog.
Interested in learning more about the history of public opinion polling? Check out this great resource from PBS!

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Darcy Vorhees
  • Educator Jason Robert Jaffe
  • Animator Marissa Hutchins, Sarah Johnson
  • Artist Tom Beuerlein
  • Narrator Jason Robert Jaffe