Paul K. Perry, 95; Political Statistician Was President of Gallup Poll
Paul K. Perry, 95, who greatly improved the reliability of political polls after the 1948 election in which top pollsters wrongly predicted the defeat of President Harry S. Truman, died of a cerebral hemorrhage April 7 at a hospital in Princeton, N.J.
Perry also helped build the Gallup Poll as its chief statistician. He succeeded George Gallup as president in 1958, and remained in that post until his retirement in 1979.
Born in Camden, N.J., he graduated from Tufts College in Massachusetts before joining the American Institute of Public Opinion in 1935.
In 1942, he moved to Audience Research, which conducted research for the movie industry.
Perry made two of his most important contributions to polling after returning to the American Institute of Public Opinion in the wake of pollsters’ embarrassing performance in the 1948 presidential election.
He devised more reliable methods for counting likely voters and for allocating the undecided vote.