A persuasive case for the necessity of polling…Political junkies and policy analysts will savor this informative deep dive.
— Publishers Weekly
Readers with a bent for statistics will take interest…Morris makes a solid case for polls as tools to give voice to the people while allowing that improvements are needed.
— Kirkus Reviews
I can’t count the number of times people have asked me to explain polling and its errors. In the future my answer will simply be, ‘Read G. Elliott Morris’s superb book, Strength in Numbers
.’ With a volume rich in useful detail and relevant history, Morris explains what has gone wrong with surveys in recent years and, more important, how to make public opinion polling better.
— Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics
Many Americans may be ready to give up on polls, but through this engaging history of public-opinion research, Elliott Morris makes the case that they make our politics better, not worse. And he’s brimming with urgent ideas for how all of us—citizens, journalists, pollsters, and politicians—can make better use of a tool essential to a healthy democracy.
— Sasha Issenberg, author of author of The Engagement
This book reads like a suspenseful whodunnit, tragedy, and love story for data. Packed with surprising history, fresh insights, and wise reforms, this is a landmark work that everyone who cares about society and politics must read.
— Kenneth Cukier, coauthor of Big Data
Morris provides a well-reported and thoughtful defense of the polls, while acknowledging their limitations. Strength in Numbers
makes a timely and valuable contribution to the polling literature.
— Karlyn Bowman, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
A compelling, accessible, and needed history lesson on the place of public opinion in our politics and a clearheaded rejoinder to the poll-bashers.
— Carlos Odio, cofounder, Equis Research
A vibrant and compelling intellectual history of polling that will make you a much smarter and savvier reader of all those polls.
— Lee Drutman, Senior Fellow, New America Political Reform Program
In this lively story of the struggles and successes of polling from Gallup to the present day, Morris makes a convincing case that the measurement of public opinion is a key component of modern democracy.
— Andrew Gelman, Higgins Professor of Statistics, Columbia UniversityStrength in Numbers
provides an engaging and illuminating journey from the earliest days of polling to the challenges that the survey industry is currently facing. What Morris’s enlightening book shows us is that pollsters have always faced—and ultimately overcome—obstacles in their attempts to accurately capture public opinion. Why should the current moment be any different, especially when we need polls now more than ever to help fulfill the promise of a government that responds to the wishes and demands of its people.
— Brian Schaffner, Newhouse Professor of Civic Studies, Tufts University