Bell Ringers
sunshinecavalluzzi Thumbnail
User-Created Content
By sunshinecavalluzzi
On October 17, 2018

Bell Ringer: Political Polling

Public Polling and Campaign Usage of Polling

Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson gives a brief overview of how candidates might use polling data and how public polling is generated.


POLLING DATA - a measure of citizens' views on issues or candidates at a given time, and overall trends from a series of polls - is used to both shape and report on political campaigns. Polling can take a variety of forms: BENCHMARK POLLS are taken early in a campaign to evaluate a candidate's standing among voters, TRACKING POLLS measure changes in opinion over time, ENTRANCE polls measure voters' plans upon arrival at voting booths, and EXIT POLLS ask voters about their behavior after they leave their voting booths and are used by the media and campaigns to make election-night predictions while votes are being counted.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • What questions, according to Kristen Soltis Anderson, do campaign polls help candidates answer?
  • What is the source for most public polling, according to Anderson? What are a few examples of polling partnerships?
  • What are several ways, according to Anderson, that two different polls taken on the same dates can have significantly different results?
  • What is a concern about using a phone calling system to measure the opinions of younger voters?
  • Why does Anderson indicate that she likes polls that measure both registered and likely voters?
  • How, according to Anthony Salvanto, can a poll of 1,000 respondents accurately reflect the views of the entire nation?
  • What insights did Scott Keeter offer into how political polling is conducted and how results are adjusted?
  • AP Government- Questions to Consider: How might the media's involvement in campaigns and tendencies in campaign reporting influence polling outcomes? How do polling results influence media reporting of campaigns? What demographic trends in voting behavior might influence candidates' decisions about how to both conduct and interpret polls?

Additional Resources



  • Campaigns
  • Likely Voters
  • Polling
  • Pollsters
  • Registered Voters


AP U.S. Government Key TermsCampaigns & Elections


Middle SchoolHigh School