How do polls work?

A viewer asked this question on 8/23/2000:

What is a Gallup poll?
What document does the president swear to preserve, protect, and defend when taking the oath of office?
What is a straw poll?
What was the theme in the 1964 Lyndon Johnson "daisy" campaign ad and where can you view a copy of it?
How much money can an individual give to a president candidate?
When was the league of women voters founded and what does the organization do?
When did candidates begin using celluloid campaign button?
What is electoral college?

madpol gave this response on 8/25/2000:

What is this, trivia time?

1.A Gallup Poll is a poll sponsored by the Gallup Research Company, a subsidiary of United press International.

2. Every one holding elective office and most people holding appointed offices, down to the lowliest military recruit takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, Foreign and Domestic.

3. A "straw poll" is any non-binding poll. In a political context, it is a poll conducted in State party conventions to get a sense of what kind of support primary contenders have.

4. An individual can contribute up to $5000 to a presidential campaign.

5. I'm not sure of the Founding date. But the purpose of the League is to promote voting and educate the public regarding candidates and issues. The League usually hosts the candidate debates.

6. The Electoral College is where the actual election of the President takes place. Each state gets 1 elector for each of it's US reps and Senators. These electors are committed to vote on the first ballot for the candidate who won their state. Since the winner of the general election usually has a clear majority of electoral votes, there hasn't been a 2nd ballot.

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