straw poll

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It may allude to a straw (thin plant stalk) held up to see in what direction the wind blows: in this case, the metaphorical wind of group opinion.


straw poll (plural straw polls)

  1. (idiomatic) A survey of opinion which is unofficial, casual, or ad hoc.
    • 2002: I don't think it was innocence that made me want to carry out a straw poll of women friends on the plausibility of this passage — James Meek in London Review of Books, Vol. 24 No. 22, 14 November 2002