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

Where Did You Get This Number? by Anthony Salvanto
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really liked it

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 statistics. Ok, that doesn’t sound too exciting, few would go wild for quantitative social sciences, but anyone with interest in politics in the increasingly divided aggressively bipartisan America should really check this book out. It doesn’t just tell you numbers, it (like a good pollster) explains the reasons behind the numbers. I, for one, founded it fascinating and grimly educational. Politics is a relatively new interest of mine, but social psychology has been one for a while and this book catered to both. And as difficult as reliving the last election was, gaining a new understanding of the numbers and theories based whys behind it was well worth it. Also the book reads notably well, almost astonishingly so for a nonfiction about statistics. I mean, I was ready was educational, but tiresome slog and got only the former. The book is surprisingly lively for its genre and subject and reads very well and quickly. Politics are difficult enough to discuss that good manners recommend not even bringing it up in polite company and yet the Anthony Salvanto somehow managed to write a perfectly unbiased political themed book. How…polite. The author to his credit tried to end it on a cheery note and the man has certainly seen enough plot turns as it were to have an objective perspective, but realistically the state of things (from news to actual poll results) doesn’t inspire much confidence. Apathy and ignorance are a dangerous combination any way you take it, everyone knows what comes of the proverbial good men doing nothing and yet voting turn outs are appalling and political intelligence of many leaves a lot to be desired. At least there are polls to explain these depressing trends and there is a certain comfort that comes from understanding. The book’s very good, everyone can learn something from it. Or not, after all there are no IQ requirements to vote as has been made blatantly obvious time and again. Also, I'm the first person reviewing this, so...awesome. Thanks Netgalley.
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Reading Progress

May 18, 2018 – Started Reading
May 19, 2018 – Finished Reading
May 20, 2018 – Shelved

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