A veteran pollster reveals how and why polls misinform policy makers and distort elections
With a new afterword by the author
Drawing on over a decade’s experience at the Gallup Poll and a distinguished academic career in survey research, David W. Moore praised as a “scholarly crusader” by the New York Times reveals that pollsters don’t report public opinion, they manufacture it. In this highly critical book, he describes the questionable tactics pollsters use to create poll-driven news stories-including force-feeding respondents, slanting the wording of questions, and ignoring public ignorance on even the most arcane issues. More than proof that the numbers do lie, The Opinion Makers clearly and convincingly spells out how urgent it is that we make polls deliver on their promise to monitor, not manipulate, the pulse of democracy.
“You will never regard political polls the same after reading David W. Moore’s devastating inside account of their severe limitations and misapplications. This book should be required reading for journalists, political junkies, students, scholars, and citizens.” —Robert W. McChesney, author of The Political Economy of Media
“In this succinct and damning critique of the pitfalls of public opinion reporting, Moore, former senior editor of the Gallup Poll, argues that today’s polls report the whims rather than the will of the people. … Keen and witty throughout.” —Publishers Weekly
“A powerful argument that polls do not merely misinform us but pose a genuine, if subtle, threat to our democracy.” —Mark Crispin Miller
“The Opinion Makers is the most important book about the making of polls and public opinion that I have read. The account of how news stories drive polls should make us stop and ask whether the close relationship between the newsroom and polling operations is perhaps a bit too close. A must read.” —W. Lance Bennett, director, Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, University of Washington, Seattle