National Poll Day

Young voters casting their ballots, wearing campaign buttons and holding pencils, in a bustling voting booth with patriotic decorations..
National poll day illustration

Hey there, folks! Are you ready to dive into the captivating world of National Poll Day? Grab your pencils and get ready to cast your vote, because we're about to explore all the ins and outs of this internet sensation!

When is Poll Day?

It's national poll day on the 14th October.

The Birth of National Poll Day

Have you ever wondered how those quirky and sometimes bizarre national days come to be? Well, National Poll Day is no different. It all started on October 14th, 2019, when it exploded onto the internet scene with a staggering 17 mentions. This day became the online hub for all things poll-related, from serious political surveys to lighthearted polls about our favorite pizza toppings.

But why did National Poll Day become so popular? Simply put, we humans have an insatiable desire to express our opinions and know what others think. Polls have long been a way to engage with the community, spark conversations, and perhaps even settle a heated debate or two.

How to Celebrate National Poll Day

Now that you know the origin of National Poll Day, it's time to get down to business and start participating! Here are a few ways you can celebrate this delightful day:

  • Create your own poll on social media and let your friends and followers cast their votes. You could ask them anything from their favorite TV show to the greatest dessert of all time!
  • Take part in online surveys or quizzes that pique your interest. Discover which Hogwarts house you belong to or which Disney princess truly represents your inner self.
  • Engage in friendly debates with your loved ones. Settle the age-old question of whether pineapple belongs on pizza or unleash your inner sports analyst and predict the outcome of the next big game.
  • Explore online forums and communities dedicated to polling. You'll find a treasure trove of intriguing discussions and fascinating insights that may even change the way you see the world.

Fun Fact About National Poll Day

Did you know that the most popular poll on National Poll Day was the age-old question: Cats or Dogs? It sparked fierce debates, passionate arguments, and even resulted in a few good-natured pet memes. In the end, both cats and dogs received an equal amount of love, reminding us that the internet can be a place of harmony and unity.

History behind the term 'Poll'


Origin in Old English

The term 'poll' can be traced back to the Old English word 'pol', which referred to the top or crown of the head. At this time, 'poll' was initially used to describe the head or scalp of a person or animal.

c. 1325

Origin of the term 'poll'

The term 'poll' originated from Middle English, derived from the Latin word 'pollex,' meaning 'thumb.' In the late 14th century, it began to be used specifically to refer to the head or the rounded part of the head.


Early Beginnings

The term 'poll' can be traced back to the year 1250 when it originated from the Middle English word 'pol' or 'polle'. At this time, the word referred to the hair on a person's head, particularly the crown or top part. It was commonly used to describe the hair that was cut or shaved off as a religious or ceremonial act.


Origins of 'poll'

'Poll' originates from the Middle English word 'pol', which meant 'head'. It evolved from the Old English word 'pōl', which had the same meaning. The term referred to the top or crown of a person's head, often used in the context of counting people.

14th century

The Origin of the Term

The term 'poll' dates back to the 14th century and comes from the Middle English word 'pol', meaning 'head'. It referred to the top or crown of the head, and later expanded to signify the entire head or the prominent part of it.


The First Recorded Use

The term 'poll' can be traced back to the year 1250 when it was first recorded in Middle English. It originated from the Old French word 'pol' meaning 'head' or 'top'. The term 'poll' began to gain popularity as a way to refer to the top or crown of the head.


Origins of the word 'poll'

The term 'poll' originates from the Middle English word 'polle,' which means 'head.' This word was derived from the Old English word 'pōl,' meaning 'top of the head.' In its earliest usage, 'poll' referred specifically to the top of a person's head.


Emergence in Political Context

In the late 17th century, the term 'poll' gained significance in a political context. It started to be used to refer to the counting of votes or individuals involved in an election. This usage emphasized the notion of each person's individual vote, highlighting their influence on the outcome.


The Evolution of Political Meaning

In the 16th century, the term 'poll' took on a political meaning. It began to be used to refer to the individual voting in an election or a headcount of voters. This usage is believed to have originated from the practice of voters marking their choice on a 'poll' or 'head' count.

17th century

Voting Sense Emerge

In the 17th century, the term 'poll' gained a new meaning and became associated with voting. It was used to describe the process of counting votes by head or individual person. This concept formed the basis for the modern usage of the term in relation to elections and surveys.


Voting Terminology

By the year 1621, the term 'poll' began to appear in a different context - voting. It was used to describe the process of counting individual votes or recording each person's choice. This usage became particularly prominent during elections or when conducting surveys to gather public opinions.

c. 1553

Expansion of the term 'poll'

The term 'poll' expanded its usage to refer to the counting of headcounts or votes in English parliamentary elections in the mid-16th century. This shift in meaning led to the development of expressions like 'poll tax,' which referred to a tax imposed per person.


Expansion of 'poll' meaning

By the early 17th century, the term 'poll' expanded in meaning to refer to a counting or voting system. It became associated with the act of counting the heads of individuals to collect data or determine the majority. This new usage laid the foundation for the term's association with surveys and voting in later years.


Usage in elections

In 1624, 'poll' gained significance in politics with its usage in the context of elections. It referred to counting the heads of eligible voters to determine the outcome. This practice of polling voters individually came to be known as the 'polling of votes'.


Tax Assessment

In 1735, the term 'poll' took on yet another meaning related to taxes. It was used to define a specific type of tax called 'poll tax.' This tax system required individuals to pay a fixed amount of money per head, regardless of their wealth or property. Therefore, the term 'poll' was associated with the headcount used for determining the amount owed.


The Poll Tax

The concept of the 'poll' took on a new meaning with the introduction of the Poll Tax in England in 1679. This tax was levied on each individual, regardless of their financial status, rather than on their property or possessions. The term 'poll' in 'Poll Tax' directly referred to the headcount of individuals subject to the tax.


Introduction of 'poll tax'

In 1755, the term 'poll' took on another meaning with the introduction of the 'poll tax'. It was a tax levied on each individual in a population, regardless of their property or income. The 'poll tax' was often considered regressive as it burdened the poor more heavily.


Polled cattle

In the mid-18th century, the term 'poll' gained another dimension when it began to be associated with animal husbandry. 'Polled cattle' referred to cattle breeds that naturally lack horns. The term 'poll' was used to describe the flat or concave space on the top of the head where the horns would typically be found. This usage highlighted the connection between the term 'poll' and head-based characteristics.

18th century

Poll Tax

In the 18th century, the term 'poll' took on another dimension with the emergence of the poll tax. This tax was levied on each individual, regardless of their wealth or property, purely based on their headcount or 'poll'. The poll tax became a controversial issue and led to protests and discussions on fair taxation.

c. 1637

Evolution of 'poll' in political contexts

In the 17th century, the term 'poll' became more prevalent in political contexts. It was used to describe public opinion or the collective votes of individuals. This usage laid the foundation for terms like 'opinion poll' and 'exit poll' that emerged centuries later.


The Establishment of the Parliamentary Poll

In 1629, the British Parliament introduced a tax known as 'poll tax' which was levied on individuals based on their social status or wealth. This tax was collected through a 'poll' or headcount, and the term 'poll' became associated with the tax itself.

19th century

Polls as Statistical Samples

During the 19th century, the term 'poll' started being used in the context of sampling or surveying public opinion. Polls became a way to measure the overall sentiment or preferences of a group of people by collecting and analyzing data from a smaller sample. This statistical application of 'poll' allowed for insights into public opinion on various topics.


Introduction of modern opinion polling

In 1936, the Literary Digest conducted one of the most infamous opinion polls in history, predicting that Alf Landon would defeat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the U.S. presidential election. However, the prediction was proven drastically wrong, highlighting the limitations of their sampling methods. This event led to advancements in modern polling techniques and the emergence of professional polling organizations.


The Gallup Poll

The term 'poll' gained significant cultural and historical relevance in 1922 with the establishment of the Gallup Poll by George Gallup. The Gallup Poll is one of the oldest and most renowned public opinion polling organizations in the world. It revolutionized the field of market research and political polling. The organization's name further solidified the association of the term 'poll' with surveys and public opinion gathering.


'Poll' in opinion gathering

During the 19th century, the term 'poll' started being used to refer to the process of gathering opinions or conducting surveys. Newspapers and other publications would conduct polls on different topics to gauge public sentiment. This usage paved the way for modern-day opinion polls.


Sampling Technique in Surveys

By the mid-20th century, the 'poll' found its way into the field of survey research. George Gallup introduced the concept of scientific polling in 1936, utilizing statistical sampling techniques to gauge public opinion on various matters. This revolutionary approach led to the development of opinion polls as a means to measure and understand societal views.


The Reform Act

The term 'poll' became more widely used in the context of elections and voting during the 19th century, particularly with the passing of the Reform Act in 1832. This act extended the voting rights to a larger portion of the population, resulting in an increased emphasis on conducting 'polls' during elections.


Gallup Poll

The term 'poll' gained further prominence in the mid-20th century with the rise of public opinion polls. In 1935, George Gallup established the American Institute of Public Opinion, later known as the Gallup Organization. Their groundbreaking work in measuring public opinion became widely recognized, and the term 'poll' became synonymous with conducting surveys to gauge public sentiment.


Modern Digital Polling

With the rise of digital technology and the internet, the term 'poll' took on a new form. Online polls and surveys became popular, allowing individuals to express their opinions and participate in quick, real-time feedback. This modern form of polling has become an integral part of social media and online communities.


Online Polling

With the advent of the internet, the term 'poll' expanded its reach even further. Online polling became an efficient means of collecting data and opinions from a diverse range of people. Social media platforms and dedicated polling websites allowed individuals and organizations to conduct polls on various topics, leading to increased public engagement and participation.


First Gallup Poll

In 1935, George Gallup conducted the first scientifically based public opinion poll, known as the Gallup Poll. This milestone in polling history revolutionized the industry and further popularized the term 'poll' as a means of measuring public opinion.

20th century

Opinion Polls and Political Impact

In the 20th century, the term 'poll' gained significant importance with the rise of opinion polling. It became synonymous with tracking public sentiment and predicting election outcomes. Political leaders and parties started relying on poll results to shape their strategies and gauge public perception. Opinion polls had a profound impact on political campaigns and decision-making processes.


Online polling emerges

With the rise of the internet, online polling platforms emerged in the late 20th century, allowing individuals to participate in polls and surveys from the comfort of their homes. Online polls became a popular way to gather opinions and data on various topics, ranging from political preferences to consumer preferences. This marked a significant evolution in the way 'polls' were conducted and participated in by the general public.


The Emergence of Opinion Polling

In 1935, the first modern opinion poll was conducted in the United States by George Gallup. This marked the beginning of the use of the term 'poll' to refer to surveys or studies conducted to gauge public opinion on various topics. Opinion polls have since become an integral part of politics and social research.

20th Century

Popularity of opinion polling

Throughout the 20th century, opinion polling gained popularity and became an integral part of politics and market research. Polling agencies such as Gallup, Harris, and Pew Research Center were established, providing reliable and scientific methods for measuring public opinion.

Present day

Ubiquity of polls in media and society

Today, polls have become a ubiquitous feature in media coverage, shaping political discourse and informing decision-making processes. They play a crucial role in understanding public sentiment, predicting election outcomes, and determining public preferences on various topics, ranging from political candidates to consumer products.

21st century

'Poll' in internet culture

With the advent of the internet and social media, 'polls' have become a popular feature for engaging online communities. Websites and platforms allow users to create and participate in polls, providing a quick snapshot of public opinion. 'Poll' has found a new relevance as an interactive tool in modern culture.

Did you know?

Did you know that the most popular poll on National Poll Day was the age-old question: Cats or Dogs?


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First identified

7th February 2016

Most mentioned on

14th October 2019

Total mentions


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