The first pre-election poll, or "straw vote", as it was then called, was conducted by the Harrisburg Pennsylvanian before the 1824 presidential election. This straw vote and the many that followed it really registered nothing but local opinion. However, as communications improved and elections were won by closer and closer margins, newspapers and journals tried desperately to satisfy their readers’ curiosity in more reliable ways.
Before the 1928 elections, no fewer than eighty-five publications made private inquiries, generally by means of questionaires(问卷、调查表)sent to subscribers(订户)and by telephone surveys. The principle common to all these inquiries was that they depended on quantity rather than quality; little effort was made to reach representatives of all segments(部分)of the population. Still, the erroneous belief persisted that the greater the number of questionaires, the more accurate the results would be. The record was held by the American monthly Literary Digest, which sent out millions of postcards with short and pointed questions before each election, and received many hundreds of thousands of replies. In fact, in 1932, the Literary Digest’s forecast was off by only 1 percent.
In view of such striking achievements, it seemed rather impertinent(粗鲁的)for the young American journalist, George Gallup,to claim that large numbers were irrelevant, and that equally accurate or better predictions could be made with a small but carefully selected sample of the population and a small team of skilled interviewers.
In 1936, it took Gallup a long time to convince thirty-five newspaper editors that his system was much cheaper than the customary mass inquiries and that it could provide surprisingly accurate predictions. The editors finally agreed, on condition that if Gallup's predictions were less accurate than those obtained by the tried method of the Literary Digest, he would have to refund(赔偿)the entire cost of the investigation. Although the Literary Digest broke its own record by obtaining two million replies to its electoral postcards that year, its prediction was wrong by 19 percent, whereas Gallup's was off by less than 1 percent.
1.From the passage we know that the earlies pre-election polls were _____ in reflecting the public opinions.
2.All of the following are the characteristics of the inquiries are mentioned in the second paragraph except _____.
A. a large number of questionaires were sent out
B. quantity rather than quality was emphasized
C. almost no effort was made to interview people from every walk of life
D. every publication in America got involved
3.We can infer from the passage that in the beginning the newspaper editors were _____ Gallup's system.
A. doubtful of
B. enthusiastic about
C. displeased with
D. indignant at
4.We can infer from the passage that in the early 1930s _____.
A. Gallup was a famous journalist
B. the Literary Digest like to break records
C. the Literary Digest was the biggest monthly in America
D. the method of the Literary Digest was popular and well-received
5.Gallup's system proved to be _____.
A. much cheaper
B. a great failure
C. a huge success
D. much costly
答案C.看懂文章的最后一句即可确定正确答案是C. whereas Gallup's was off by less than 1 percent意为“而盖洛普的预测误差不到百分之一”。
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