Gallup papers give glimpse into US polling history

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Associated Press

Posted on December 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 16 at 1:34 PM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Groundbreaking pollster George Gallup may be known for founding the survey organization that tracks people's opinions on the president, but he began his career with a more personal concern: getting his mother-in-law elected to statewide office.

Ola Babcock Miller was a huge underdog in the 1932 race for Iowa Secretary of State. Gallup conducted an informal poll of voters for her and learned that highway safety was a top concern. Miller campaigned successfully on the issue and went on to found the Iowa State Patrol.

That campaign is recounted in a collection of papers that Gallup's family recently donated to the University of Iowa documenting the life of the father of modern political polling.

The papers are expected to be used by researchers studying early polling on elections and marketing.

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