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How do polls of public opinion and political behavior work exactly? Well, it's definitely a complex answer, and when you add the mix of how exactly these polls work when done in a less "traditional" fashion, such as with the Internet, things get even more complicated. Part of the mission of the Political Communication Lab at Stanford University is "to develop and administer experimental studies of public opinion and political behavior through the use of both on-line and traditional methods". The site is a rather fascinating one, as it contains a number of informative areas on work at the Lab and on the current presidential election campaign. One of the group's projects that is worth a look is the Voter Attention Share project, in which the Lab is tracking the total number of daily references to key election issues across national TV newscasts and the 80 most widely read daily newspapers from June 1 to Election Day. Visitors can also read about the group's other projects and listen to a talk on online polling by Professors James Fishkin and Shanto Iyengar.
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