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Michigan State University

Public Opinion and Social Attitudes Data: United States

This guide will help you find public opinion and social attitudes data, including public opinion polls.

United States - Surveys and Studies

  • American National Election Studies. The mission of the American National Election Studies (ANES) is to inform explanations of election outcomes by providing data that support rich hypothesis testing, maximize methodological excellence, measure many variables, and promote comparisons across people, contexts, and time. Alternative access: ICPSR and the interactive SDA Archive.


  • General Social Survey contains a standard ‘core’ of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have remained unchanged since 1972 to facilitate time-trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings. The GSS takes the pulse of America, and is a unique and valuable resource. It has tracked the opinions of Americans over the last four decades. Alternative access: ICPSR and the interactive SDA Archive.


  • National Annenberg Election Survey. The 2000 and 2004 National Annenberg Election Surveys are the largest academic public opinion studies of the American electorate ever conducted within a campaign cycle. Adults in the United States were interviewed by telephone about their beliefs, attitudes, intentions and behavior relevant to the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. Alternative access: CD-ROM with book.


  • The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does so by conducting public opinion polling and social science research; by reporting news and analyzing news coverage; and by holding forums and briefings. It does not take positions on policy issues.
    • Pew Research Center for the People and the Press is an independent, non-partisan public opinion research organization that studies attitudes toward politics, the press and public policy issues. 
    • Pew Hispanic Center is a project of the Pew Research Center. Through its National Surveys of Latinos and other public opinion surveys the Center regularly examines Hispanic attitudes towards a variety of matters. Topics covered include politics, immigration, religion, health care, education, economics, remittances, identity, media use, language proficiency, assimilation and Latino opinion on a range of social issues. 
    • Social and Demographic Trends studies behaviors and attitudes of Americans in key realms of their lives, including family, community, health, finance, work and leisure. The project explores these topics by combining original public opinion survey research with social, economic and demographic data analysis.


  • Gallup Poll has been publishing public opinion surveys since 1935. Results of many polls are available freely online at the website. Additional access options include:
    • The Gallup poll cumulative index : public opinion, 1998-2007
    • Gallup Poll Cumulative Index: Public Opinion 1935-1997. Find results of more than 60,000 questions that the Gallup Poll---the world’s oldest and most respected public opinion poll---has asked of the American public over the past six decades. Also available in print: use index and the Annual Series volumes (current holdings through 2007).
    • Gallup Poll News Service provides news centered on public opinion. Published each business day, articles from the Gallup Poll News Service analyze findings and trends in politics, business, social issues, and Americans’ lifestyles. There may be a delay in content. Available online. Older editions are in print.
    • Some individual studies are purchased by the library and are searchable in the library catalog.


  • Harris Poll is a weekly column that has published the results of public opinion surveys since 1963 and is currently published by Harris Interactive, a market research company. Volumes from the 1980s are available in print. Select data sets available in the Odum Archive.


  • Marist Poll at the Marist Institute for Public Opinion regularly measures public opinion at the local, state, and national level. Topics include politics, money, family, spirituality, mind and body, sports, entertainment, and more. Includes links to other national and state level polls.


  • Polling the Nations is the most comprehensive collection of public opinion, with information from not only in the United States but also more than 80 countries around the world. Includes polls from local U.S. areas. The database includes the full text of the questions and responses covering a broad range of issues.
    This resource began in 1981 in book format as the American Public Opinion Index (with companion microfiche)


  • is an independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion. Provides lists of polls conducted on politics and policy, business and economy, and the American scene.


  • compiles results of multiple polls for the entire nation and individual states.  This site is affiliated with the National Journal magazine, for full access to National Journal resources log in through the proxy server via the library catalog.

State Level

  • Michigan: State of the State Survey is the only survey conducted in Michigan designed to systematically monitor the public mood on important issues in major regions of the state. Administered here at MSU.
  • Michigan: MIRS Pollsters Corner/Political Poll Crosstabs from the Michigan Information & Research Service political news service, provides "cross tabs from several key campaign and issue polls from the current calendar year" from EPIC/MRA.
  • National Network of State Polls is a confedaration of organizations that conduct state-level surveys.
  • State Politics and Policy Quarterly is a peer-reviewed journal which publishes "original research on state politics and policy. The official publication of the State Politics and Policy Section of the American Political Science Association, SPPQ publishes high quality academic studies that develop and test general hypotheses of political behavior and policymaking, exploiting the unique advantages of the states."


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