Major Polling Sources
- Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. There are seven project areas to find reports, polls, and data sets: Center for the People and the Press, Project for Excellence in Journalism, Social and Demographic Trends, Forum on Religion and Public Life, Pew Internet and American Life Project; Hispanic Center, and the Global Attitudes Project.
- Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
ICPSR, established in 1962, "maintains and provides access to a vast archive of social science data for research and instruction, and offers training in quantitative methods to facilitate effective data use. To ensure that data resources are available to future generations of scholars, ICPSR preserves data, migrating them to new storage media as changes in technology warrant. In addition, ICPSR provides user support to assist researchers in identifying relevant data for analysis and in conducting their research projects." ICPSR is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization serving member colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. The site includes good help and tutorial materials.
Statistical Search Engines
- Polling the Nations
The online version of the American Public Opinion Index, this database is a compilation of more than 14,000 surveys conducted by more than 700 polling organizations in the United States and more than 80 other countries. Each of the nearly 350,000 records reports a question asked and the responses given. Also included in each record is the polling organization responsible for the work, the date the information was released, the sample size, and universe. The site now includes large collections of historical polls from the 1940s.
Other Public Opinion Sites
Provides access to statistics and studies gathered by market researchers, trade organizations, scientific publications, and government sources.
- American National Election Studies
The American National Election Studies (ANES), a collaboration between Stanford University and the University of Michigan, "produces high quality data on voting, public opinion, and political participation to serve the research needs of social scientists, teachers, students, policy makers and journalists who want to better understand the theoretical and empirical foundations of national election outcomes." Conducted biennially since 1952, the survey "gauges public sentiment on the political process, the role of government, and social and economic issues." This site permits download of the ANES datasets, many of which are also available through ICPSR and CISER.
- ASEP/JDS Databank of International Surveys
"ASEP/JDS have been working together since 1990 to provide researchers in the social sciences with friendly and easy to use data bases, including both statistical data and survey data files. Over the years, ASEP/JDS has been archiving its survey data and has produced the necessary programs to make its Data Bank available for researchers, to be used in interactive mode on the internet. Finally, with support from the BBVA Foundation it has been possible to conclude a long process whose principal objective has been to offer an alternative to sociological investigation "on word of honour" (where data are not made available) by making survey datasets available to the research community." Includes Afrobarometer, East-Asian Barometer, Globalbarometer, the Spanish CIRES (Centre for Research on the Social Reality), the Spanish Immigrants Collection, Comparative Studies on Electoral Systems (CSES), Real Instituto Elcano de Estudios Internacionales y Estratégicos, European Values Study (EVS), and World Values Survey (WVS).
- Canadian Opinion Research Archive
Accessto over 25 years of public opinion survey data, collected by major survey research firms in Canada. Contains hundreds of surveys including thousands of discrete items collected by major commercial Canadian firms dating back to the 1970s.
- General Social Survey
The GSS has been conducted since 1972 by the National Opinion Research Center. It measures attitudes toward social and public policy issues, economic status, political events, work, and family life. In addition to questions asked each year, topical modules are included on a rotating basis that focus on current issues such as gender equity, religious beliefs, and perception of work. The 1972-2004 file was released in September 2005. ICPSR maintains a GSS Data and Information Retrieval System (GSSDIRS) site that permits you to browse the codebook, select specific variables, and perform some online analyses on the cumulated 1972-2000 file. You may also select extracts for download.
- Health Poll Search
"Health Poll Search is a searchable archive of public opinion questions on health issues that allows users to know what Americans think about health issues, as well as what Americans have thought about health issues over time. Health Poll Search is the result of a partnership between the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut. The Roper Center houses an archive of more than 350,000 public opinion questions dating back to 1935.
The Health Poll Search archive covers 29 topics and more than 300 subtopics, and holds more than 60,000 questions on health issues from health care surveys that have included questions on health. These questions provide information on public perceptions of HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, health policy and health reform, Medicare and Medicaid, women's health, the uninsured, minority health, and children's health. Response percentages and source information are provided for all questions."
- ProQuest Statistical Insight
Finding tool for locating opinion polls and reports from government agencies, international organizations, trade organizations, other research centers.
- National Opinion Research Center (NORC)
NORC is a national organization for research at the University of Chicago. From the home page you can access press releases on their recent studies. By selecting the "Projects" option, you will get detailed information on their many studies and surveys, including the General Social Survey. "NORC's projects fall into five major substantive areas: economics and population; education and child development; health survey, program and policy research; substance abuse, mental health, and criminal justice; and statistics and methodology."
An independent, nonpartisan resource on American public opinion covering politics, elections, current events, national security and other issues. Collects numerous polls from major news organizations.
- Program on International Policy Attitudes
The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) carries out research on public opinion on foreign policy and international issues by conducting nationwide polls, focus groups and comprehensive reviews of polling conducted by other organizations. PIPA is a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes (COPA) and the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland.
- Public Agenda Online
This site provided extensive information on current and controversial issues such as abortion and legal gaming, the family, education etc. Each segment has an overview, facts and trends, different perspectives, links to news stories, and results of public opinion polls.
- Public Opinion Poll Question Database
"The Odum Institute's Public Opinion Poll Database allows any researcher to search for specific poll questions among the more than 230,000 questions in the Institute's archive by key words, date, study number, study title, or state. The system displays the full question text, study information, and frequency distributions, so it is useful both to users interested in looking up previous question wordings to develop questions for their own studies and to users interested in frequencies or in locating particular variables for statistical analysis." For many polls, data may be downloaded for free. For some polls (Harris, NNSP, Southern Focus, and Carolina Polls), you may run crosstabs online.
- Public Opinion Surveys (Cornell Institute for Social & Economic Research)
An excellent set of links from Cornell University. "Some of these sites contain questions on a specific topic or an entire survey or questionnaire. Others include response cross tabulations and information on a survey's methodology. Those containing only brief summaries of survey results are not included, nor are sites that concentrate on survey methodology."
Related Guides and Information
- Science and Engineering Indicators (National Science Foundation)
This National Science Foundation biennial report to Congress provides "a broad base of quantitative information about U.S. science, engineering, and technology." The site includes reports from 1993 to the present. If you click on the "Survey Descriptions," you get background information on the various studies conducted, which includes information on the availability of data.
- National Council on Public Polls
"The National Council on Public Polls (NCPP) is an association of polling organizations established in 1969. Its mission is to set the highest professional standards for public opinion pollsters, and to advance the understanding, among politicians, the media and general public, of how polls are conducted and how to interpret poll results." Useful information, links and other background information.
- Polling 101: A Tutorial
Prepared by the Roper Center, this tutorial "is intended to offer a simplified glimpse into some of the fundamentals of public opinion polling. Designed for the novice, POLLING 101 provides definitions, examples, and explanations that serve to introduce interested students to the field of public opinion research."
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