How many times a day do you check the election polls? I do it at least four times. Note the “at least.” Yes, I know I’m a political journalist, but these days it seems many Americans have the latest polls at RealClearPolitics and bookmarked.

American University School of Communications scholar Joe Campbell has written several stories for us on the history of presidential election polls and how spectacularly wrong they can be. In his latest, Campbell looks at Americans’ love affair with polls and asks why we can’t look away – despite all the “flubs, fiascoes and miscalls.”

Also today:

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Supporters on election night 2016 at a Hillary Clinton party, when it became clear poll-based forecasts had been off target. Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Why Americans are so enamored with election polls

W. Joseph Campbell, American University School of Communication

Polling is an imperfect attempt at providing insight and explanation. But the public's desire for insight and explanation about elections never ends, so polls endure despite their flaws and failures.


Science + Technology

Arts + Culture

Politics/Election '20


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Environment + Energy

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    Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi, Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro; Claire Kremen, University of British Columbia; Erle C. Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Sandra Díaz, Universidad de Córdoba (Argentina)

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Economy + Business


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