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Where Did You Get This Number?: A Pollster's Guide to Making Sense of the World
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Where Did You Get This Number?: A Pollster's Guide to Making Sense of the World

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  15 reviews
CBS News’ Elections and Surveys Director Anthony Salvanto takes you behind the scenes of polling to show you how to think about who we are and where we’re headed as a nation.

As Elections and Surveys Director for CBS News, it’s Anthony Salvanto’s job to understand you—what you think and how you vote. He’s the person behind so many of the poll numbers you see today, making t
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Simon Schuster
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3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  56 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On November 8th 2016 I went to bed at a regular time trying not to think about the election or more like refusing to believe the possibilities…and woke up to a brave horrifying new world that had such people in it. Meanwhile Anthony Salvanto, CBS News’ Elections and Surveys Director, stayed up and witnessed that nightmare personally, totaling the numbers well into the night and finally calling the election. And now he’s written a book about how that came to be, a book about polling, surveys and ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy knowing what's behind the numbers, and how they got to a certain number.
This book is probably not for everyone, for sure, and it's not especially "readable" as some books can be on tough subjects. Especially for amateurs such as myself. (Think Michael Lewis, The Big Short.)
But Anthony does a decent job trying to explain how polls are done, calculated, etc. I'd compare understanding polling, the justification and explanation for the resulting numbers and percentages to retaking college s
Randal White
I requested this book as an ARC from NetGalley, as I was interested in finding out what, in my opinion, went so horribly awry in the 2016 Presidential Election. I mean, how could the “pollsters” have gotten it so wrong?
The author does explain the polling methods and techniques used in predicting elections. I found it interesting, but a bit dry.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
A primer on the world of polling: the selection of samples, and formulation of questions. Both those fascinated by or cynical of polling will come away with a greater appreciation of how polls and surveys are conducted, as well as a much clearer sense of what they mean.
"It's like in baseball's 2016 World Series, when the Indians and CUbs scored the same amount of total runs in the seven-game series, but the Cubs won more games, and games are what counts. Think of runs like votes and districts like games." (p 143)

I enjoyed this book. There were many moments of levity and Salvanto has a sense of humor that translates to the written word. This is good, his subject matter can be a bit dry. There have been so many polls advertised everywhere and it certainly seems
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Political Predictions in a Chaotic Age: WHERE DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER?
How do pollsters come up with the winners and losers on election night?

Anthony Salvatino has a Ph.D. in Political Science and is the Director of Elections and Surveys at CBS news where he has worked since 2002. That he has a doctorate in Political Science rather than Statistics, Math, or even Mass Communication was the first thing I learned — I always thought political polls were condu
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
An expert and very readable journey into the world of polling. I think I knew more about polling than the average person, but I learned quite a bit. What goes into getting a representative sample? Why do pollsters typically use sample sizes of around 1000 people? Are results skewed because so many people don't have landline phones? (The answer to this one is "no", and Salvanto tells why.)

Salvanto uses many real world and recent examples to illustrate his points, although he does dip back to the
Paul Miller
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Aha’ nuggets about political polls breezily delivered by the CBS news head of polling. It’s all about targeting the right sample that captures the ’nation in miniature’ (~1000 people is all it takes). BIG aha was the degree of partisanship in the US; even most of those who claim to be ‘independent’ aren’t; they vote only one party. As a result, elections are ALL about turnout. Trump won b/c Hillary was such a poor candidate; the ’Never Trumpers’ voted much more, and blacks/young people much les ...more
This was a thoroughly okay book about how polls work, how they're constructed to tell a story, and what they can tell us about current American politics. I especially enjoyed Salvanto's chapter about creating good poll questions; I felt like I learned something new there. The rest was marginally educational, but it struck too casual a tone to feel really serious about teaching me anything. In the last few chapters on current events, it seemed like Salvanto shied away from making any controversia ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're at all interested in how public opinion polling is done, this is a good introduction by an author who works for a respected polling institution (CBS News). Salvanto talks about all of the major components of a good poll - sampling, questionnaire design, coverage, and analysis - without going too far into the overly technical details of an advanced text.
Savannah Thorpe
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: god-s-plan
I really appreciated how Salvanto walked readers through the facts of the matter. While he does inject some commentary now and again, Salvanto tells readers about the data he collected and how the polls he helped conduct explain how we've gotten to where we are politically in 2018.
Clayton Turner
“Last year 55% of Americans said they were optimistic the country could come together. 55% isn’t everyone but it is a majority. What will you do with that number?” ~ Anthony Salvanto, Where’d You Get This Number?
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a good book for anyone who’s interested in polling, but likely not worth it to read if you’re actually a pollster since I’m not sure you’ll learn anything new! I wish he wrote more about the importance of weighting to education.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
It was hard to relieve that really terrible night, but interesting to beyond the poll numbers. I also worked for Gallup for a year or so, and it's all pretty interesting. Review to come
Jim Ogle
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