The public ate it up. First, in the 1920s, to learn the basics of life in Middletown, America... What we ate and earned and longed for. Then, with Gallup polls and the Kinsey report, why we voted the way we did and the innermost details of even our sex lives.
Today, there seems to be a new poll every five seconds. They teach us, and they define us.
This hour On Point: the poll-driven nation, and our understanding of ourselves.
Sarah Igo, author of "The Averaged American," assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania
Frank Newport, Editor in Chief, Gallup Poll
Nate Persily, Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania
Jack Beatty, On Point Senior News Analyst and Senior Editor of the Atlantic Monthly
This program aired on January 30, 2007.