straw vote

noun
an unofficial vote taken to obtain an indication of the general trend of opinion on a particular issue.
Also called straw poll.


Origin:
1885–90, Americanism

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World English Dictionary
straw poll or chiefly (US), (Canadian), (NZ) straw vote
 
n
an unofficial poll or vote taken to determine the opinion of a group or the public on some issue
 
straw vote or chiefly (US), (Canadian), (NZ) straw vote
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  straw vote
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  See straw poll
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

straw vote

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]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
In straw vote, those present unanimously supported the installation of the proposed culverts.
Their initial straw vote was that they were split on incorporating this into the budget.
The straw vote resulted in a slight reorganization of priorities.
And so the first thing they did was, they had a straw vote, and everybody put down what they wanted.
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