George Gallup (1901–1984), the pioneer of statistical opinion polling founded Gallup Inc., originally called the American Institute of Public Opinion, in 1935.
In 1936 he achieved national recognition by correctly predicting Franklin Roosevelt would defeat Alf Landon in the U.S. presidential election, contradicting most leading newspapers.
Gallup rapidly became the standard bearer for polling and built a reputation for integrity and independence. The polling he pioneered included seeking the public’s views on reform in education, the criminal justice system, and politics.
Dr. Gallup was named one of the 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine one of the 100 Most Influential Americans of All Time by The Atlantic.
Jim Clifton, CEO and chairman of Gallup, explained how Dr. Gallup’s original mission and purpose continues on today:
Dr. Gallup founded the company based on a very simple mission: If democracy is about the will of the people, somebody should go out and find out what that will is.
That still is Gallup’s mission. Dr. Gallup loved America and democracy. If we are wrong about the will of the people, he said, then leaders will make policies that are wrong. If leaders are wrong about the will of the people, the more they lead the worse they make it. Which is coming home to roost right now.