A pollster is a person who measures public attitudes by conducting opinion polls. Pollsters design, conduct, and analyze surveys to ascertain public views on various subjects. Pollsters typically conduct this work on behalf of clients, including corporations, news organizations, and candidates for public office.

Time magazine first used the term in May 1939, referring to “Dr. George Horace Gallup, punditical pollster of public opinion.” But the term appeared only rarely in print until after the infamous presidential Election Night ordeal of 1948 sent the polling profession temporarily reeling. The three major pollsters of the day—Gallup, Elmo Roper, and Alfred M. Crossley—each forecast an Election Day sweep for New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey, so when President Harry S. Truman won, the Detroit Free Press ran the ...

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