Literary Digest had a sterling reputation in the polling industry.
At least until 1936.
The influential weekly magazine polled two million subscribers, concluding President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s GOP challenger Alf Landon would win that year’s election.
Landon, the Republican Governor of Kansas, couldn’t even prevail in his home state.
Although Literary Digest polled millions, its readership wasn’t representative of most Americans.
Subscribers were wealthier, often affluent enough to have telephones and own at least one car. Entering the eighth year of the Great Depression, many of Roosevelt’s supporters were not.
FDR went on to win with 61 percent of the popular vote.