Monday, July 27, 2015

Landon by a Landslide: The Great Polling Disaster of 1936

There has been much breast-beating (some of it by yours truly) about the spate of recent polling failures (US 2014; UK, Scotland, and Greece this year).

For historical perspective, though, it’s good to look back on the polling disaster that almost killed the practice of polling in its infancy – the prediction by the Literary Digest (a leading magazine of the period) that Alf Landon would easily defeat Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1936 election.

This link takes you to the October 31, 1936 edition of the magazine, in which they publish their results.

For the record, Landon carried two states: Maine and Vermont.

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