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How to Find Polling Information: Overview of Polls

Overall note about Pollsters & Accessing polls

Almost all polling firms possess reams of data, from which they try to generate sound bites of polling results that are picked up by the media.

Each polling firm tries to secure as much media attention as possible for its recently conducted polls, while at the same time, holding back on much of the details, so that firms can earn big money when they decide to reveal "the crown jewels" of detailed results that the headline news focused on.

One organization might offer you online access to a 60 page report, while other survey results are nothing more than a handful of sentences centering around just a single piece of data.  There is no requirement for any firm to give away free copies of all of their research.

This difference between "top line results" and the full inches thick set of polling results is common with both For-Profit pollsters, as well as most Non-Profit pollsters.

Each polling organization determines how much information will be released to their paying clients, and how much will be released free of cost to the public, or to academic researchers.  The different levels of disclosure are based more on the whims of each polling group, rather than being based on a consistent formulaic decision.

Each of the nationwide firms listed below offers a variety of details about recently released polling results, and various levels of subject queries to their completed survey projects.

Accessing polling data from the IPOLL database

iPOLL is a comprehensive full text source for public opinion data in the United States, covering 1935 to the present.

This database is produced by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (an affiliate of Cornell University). 

iPOLL includes data survey results from over 50 participating pollsters including academic, commercial and media survey organizations. Data also comes from the Roper Center's archive of US national adult samples or samples of registered voters, women, African Americans, or any subpopulation that constitutes a large segment of the national adult population. iPOLL does not include state samples or foreign samples.

Examples of Non-Profit Polling Groups

Examples of For-Profit Polling Firms

Gary Klein (librarian for statistics)