Statistics

In advance of the 1936 Presidential Elections, a magazine titled Literary Digest released the results of an opinion poll predicting that the republican candidate Alf Landon would win by a large margin. The magazine send post cards to approximately 10,000,000 prospective voters. These prospective voters were selected from the subscription list of the magazine, from automobile registration lists, from phone lists, and from club membership lists. Approximately 2,300,000 people returned the postcards.

a. Think about the state of the United States in 1936. Explain why a sample chosen from magazine subscription lists, automobile registration lists, phone books, and club membership lists was not representative of the population of the United States at the time.

b. What effect does the low response rate have on the reliability of the sample?

c. Are these problems examples of sampling error or non sampling error?

d. During the same year, George Gallup conducted his own poll of 30,000 prospective voters. His researchers used a method called "quota sampling" to obtain survey answers from specific subsets of the population. Quota sampling is an example of which sampling method described in this module?

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  2. In advance of the 1936 Presidential Election, a magazine titled Literary Digest released the results of an opinion poll predicting that the republican candidate Alf Landon would win by a large margin. The magazine sent post cards to approximately 10,000,000 prospective voters. These prospective voters were selected from the subscription list of the magazine, from automobile registration lists, from phone lists, and from club membership lists. Approximately 2,300,000 people returned the postcards.

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