Media COverage and Polling
Table of Contents
- Key Question: How does polling work and what purposes does it serve?
Key Question: How does traditional media and social media have an impact on a voter’s image of candidates and their campaign?
Have students complete the “Comparing the Coverage ” chart. Then have students search through digital and social media for the same issues or candidates and compare the coverage.
- Possible Extension: In addition to examining media coverage of the candidates, examine the quantity of coverage and then discuss what impact, if any, this has on the election. You may wish to compare mainstream news coverage with the popularity of the candidate on Google Trends . What accounts for the differences?
History of Polling
Students will learn about polls and the polling process, including associated vocabulary by exploring how polls are created and forming their own polls.
Vanderbilt University history professor Sarah Igo on the history of political polling in America, including discussion of straw polls, and scientific sampling polls.
- Create your own Political Poll.
- Discuss with your group what you would like to research for your poll.
- Define your universe. The universe is the total population that you are trying to gather research on. Typically the smaller the universe the more accurate the poll, however the larger the universe the more useful it is.
- Determine the demographics of your universe. Find the percentages of each of the following:
- Age of students
- Race of students
- Gender of students
- Example: There are 30 students in a class - 10 sixteen year olds, 12 seventeen year olds, and 8 eighteen year olds. So 33% of the class is sixteen, 40% of the class is seventeen, and 27% of the class is eighteen.
- Create 5 questions for your poll. Be careful not to use wording that is biased because that could skew your results. Your polling questions should also have a multiple choice answer or provide a scale for how much participants agree or disagree with a statement.
- Conduct your poll and record responses.
- Analyze your data, and create a graph representing your results.
- Follow up questions:
- Did you get any surprising results from your poll? Why or why not?
- What are some things you could do to improve your polling?
- How could this information be used by a candidate in an election?