George Gallup

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George Horace Gallup (November 18, 1901 – July 26, 1984) was an American pioneer of survey sampling techniques and inventor of the Gallup poll, a successful statistical method of survey sampling for measuring public opinion.

Gallup is a graduate of The Lawrenceville School and the University of Iowa, where he was a football player, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and editor of The Daily Iowan, an independent newspaper which serves the university campus. He earned his B.A. in 1923, his M.A. in 1925 and his Ph.D. in 1928.

In 1936, his new organization achieved national recognition by correctly predicting, from the replies of only 5,000 respondents, that Franklin Roosevelt would defeat Alf Landon in the U.S. Presidential election. This was in direct contradiction to the widely respected Literary Digest magazine whose poll based on over two million returned questionnaires predicted that Landon would be the winner. Not only did Gallup get the election right, he correctly predicted the results of the Literary Digest poll as well using a random sample smaller than theirs but chosen to match it.

Twelve years later, his organization had its moment of greatest ignominy, when it predicted that Thomas Dewey would defeat Harry S. Truman in the 1948 election, by five to 15 percentage points. Gallup believed the error was mostly due to ending his polling three weeks before Election Day.

In 1947, he launched the Gallup International Association, an international association of polling organizations.[1]

In 1948, with Claude E. Robinson, he founded Gallup and Robinson, Inc., an advertising research company.

In 1958, Gallup grouped all of his polling operations under what became The Gallup Organization.

Gallup died of a heart attack at his summer home in Tschingel, a village in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. He was buried in Princeton Cemetery.

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