Recommended books on polling

Somebody asked, so here you go


Here is a brief list of books that will cumulatively teach you a lot about political polling. Topics covered are the industry’s key players, how it came about and how reliable election polling is.

  • The Wizard of Washington: Emil Hurja, Franklin Roosevelt, and the Birth of Public Opinion Polling, Melvin Holli

  • The Averaged American, Sarah Igo

  • Select chapters of These Truths: A History of the United States, Jill Lepore

  • The Timeline of Presidential Elections: How Campaigns Do (and Do Not) Matter, Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien

  • Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections, Joseph Campbell

All of these books are good places to start. Then you can start getting into stuff like the Oxford Handbook of Polling and Survey Methods or the more classic stuff from Gallup and his contemporaries (much of which is surprisingly hard to get your hands on these days—or even, sadly, out of print).