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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Statistics, 2nd Edition by Robert Donnelly

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Examples of Poor Sampling Techniques

The technique of sampling has been widely used, both properly and improperly, in the area of politics. One of the most famous mishaps with sampling occurred during the 1936 presidential race when the Literary Digest predicted Alf Landon to win the election over Franklin D. Roosevelt. Even if history is not your best subject, you can realize somebody had egg on his face after this election day. Literary Digest drew their sample from phonebooks and automobile registrations. The problem was that people with phones and cars in 1936 tended to be wealthier Republicans and were not representative of the entire voting population.
 
Another sampling blunder occurred in the 1948 presidential race when the Gallup ...

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