- an unofficial vote taken to obtain an indication of the general trend of opinion on a particular issue.
Origin of straw vote
mainly US, Canadian and NZ straw vote
- an unofficial poll or vote taken to determine the opinion of a group or the public on some issue
Originally, a small, informal opinion survey. Today, a straw poll is generally a large-scale, scientifically determined public opinion survey based on a random sample of the population. Straw polls are commonly used to test public opinion of candidates running for office.
Also, straw poll. An unofficial vote or poll indicating how people feel about a candidate or issue. For example, Let's take a straw poll on the bill and see how it fares. This idiom alludes to a straw used to show in what direction the wind blows, in this case the wind of public opinion. O. Henry joked about it in A Ruler of Men (1907): “A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.” [c. 1885]