The Literary Digest Poll

FDR over Landon.

In November 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt defeated his Republican challenger Alfred Landon. This election is notable because the predicted outcome from popular magazine Literary Digest came no where near the real outcome on election day. It was one of polling’s biggest mistakes.  What happened?  How did such an otherwise-reliable poll get this one wrong?  Read here at University of Pennsylvania and in this 2006 Wall Street Journal piece on the story, then answer the questions below.



1. What was the methodology in creating the sample for this poll?

2. How large was the sample, and was it large enough?

3. What was the chief problem with the Literary Digest read on the 1936 election and why did htey get it wrong?