Michael Traugott, professor emeritus of communication and political science, and research professor emeritus at the Institute for Social Research, says election poll results sound so definitive, like the results of a running race. But polling and the statistical modeling underlying the results involve a set of assumptions that are not usually made explicit, such as figuring out how representative survey respondents are of the general population and the people who will turn out to vote, he says.

Traugott is a political scientist who studies campaigns and elections, voting behavior, political communication, the use of polls to construct news, and survey methodology.