15.4 Searching for Survey Data

Many polling organizations have been conducting studies on public opinion for decades. Companies such as Gallup, Roper, Harris and the National Opinion Research Center have archives of their studies going back, in some cases, to the 1930’s. Their Web sites provide access to summaries of current studies and, for subscribers, the complete information about each poll they conduct.

In addition, the Web site PollingReport.com provides free information about hundreds of national polls and opinion surveys as they are released by the major polling organizations. The tools American Public Opinion Index and Polling the Nations help you locate surveys conducted by many other domestic and foreign organizations as well.

Whether you are contemplating using the results from someone else’s survey or one conducted by your own media organization, there are several things you want to be sure you understand. Survey sampling details, question wording/ordering and interview techniques used by the surveyors are all important.