nl en

Polling the Public Opinion


More and more opinion polls are conducted all around the world. Particularly during election campaigns, one political poll rapidly follows another. The increase in polls is partly caused by the internet, which has made it possible to collect a lot of information in a cheap and fast way. However, the question is how reliable and valid poll results are.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of a range of practical and theoretical aspects of opinion polls. There are good and bad polls. This course describes how to separate the chaff from the wheat. It is also a good guide for conducting your own polls.

Among the methodological aspects discussed in this course are design of a questionnaire, selecting a sample, calculating estimates, the problem of nonresponse, and working with margins of errors.

Methods of Instruction
Lectures and homework exercises on a weekly basis.

The final assessment will be based on a two hour written examination on 18 December, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 5A47
Second chance for this two hour written examination will be on 8 January, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 1A24

Jelke Bethlehem (2014), Polling Public Opinion. This publication can be downloaded from Blackboard.

Tuesday 4 November, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 5A29
Thursday 6 November, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 5A29
Thursday 13 Novermber until 11 December, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 0A33

Entrance requirements
Knowledge of basic statistics.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to

Students that take this course as an elective are required to register in uSis before 17 October 2014.