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Sample survey reliability works the same way - but on a much larger scale.As in coin tosses, the most likely sample outcome is the true percentage of whatever it is we are measuring across the total population.This means that only one person in 200,000 will be included in any one national or state poll.To put it another way, it would take 200,000 polls with samples of 1,000 for pollsters to get around to all Americans - and this assumes no one is called twice.Important to this analysis of accuracy is that most of these polls were conducted within days or even hours before election day.Polls conducted 1-2 weeks before election day or even longer by local newspapers and TV stations cannot usually be expected to closely match election outcomes. How questions in a poll are worded is as important as sampling procedure in obtaining valid results.Job approval is just one question which when analyzed in combination with response to other questions gives a good overall picture of how an incumbent is perceived. When compared with actual election outcomes, average poll error for presidential elections between 19 has been declining.

Larger samples are generally more precise, but sometimes not.

Of course, national and local media organizations conduct several polls in one year.

The number of national or local media political polls you see in a single year is about 250 - but can vary depending on where you live.

Experience shows presidential job approval has a lot do with how well people think things are going in the country today.

High job approval does not mean the office-holder is necessarily held in high, personal esteem. The NCPP analyzed final presidential election polls conducted by the national media dating back over 50 years.

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