The Topic:
Polls & Surveys

Easier - A survey, sometimes called a poll, is a study of what people think or believe about a topic or question. Surveys are usually done by questionnaire, interview, or observation.
Harder - Public opinion polls are useful in tracing people's views on important social issues. Polls are used to assess people's preferences in political races, and the results are used to predict election results. Surveys are often employed in marketing and advertising research to measure and predict consumer's reaction to products.
Gallup Organization
The Gallup Organization is a for-profit think-tank that has studied human nature and behavior for more than 70 years.
Related Websites:
2) Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
3) Polling Report
4) Zogby International
Harris Interactive
In the past 40 years, the Harris Poll has surveyed millions of people from more than 90 countries.
Related Website and Section:
2) Harris Poll Online
3) HarrisZone
Phi Delta Kappan Gallup Poll by L.C. Rose and A.M. Gallup
This annual poll surveys people's attitudes toward the public schools.
Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut
This center maintains the world's largest collection of public opinion information.

After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following projects:

Take Part in an Online Survey. Visit Shout Out at Yahooligans and complete an online survey. You can also see the topics and results for previous surveys. Another weekly online survey can be at What Do You Think? at KidsCom. You may submit your own survey topic ideas; maybe yours will get selected for an upcoming week.
Track Public Opinion on an Issue. Explore the Gallup Poll site and identify information on a social issue or concern. Trace the history of public opinion related to your issue. Create a timeline showing changes in opinion over time. Identify key turning points in public opinion. Speculate on reasons for these changes.
Submit Issues to the Gallup Poll. First visit the Gallup Poll site to identify the types of issues that have been polled. Create a list of questions you'd like the Gallup Poll people to explore. Narrow your list down to the top 3 to 5 items. Email them to the web site.
Follow a Political Campaign through the Polls. Select a political campaign from recent history. Trace changes in public opinion in the year leading up to the election. What conclusions can you draw? How could you use this information if you were developing a political campaign?
Develop and Administer Your Own Poll. Develop and conduct a public opinion poll in your school on this issue. Identify the issue you want to learn about. Select the method of polling that you are going to use. Work with a teacher or administrator to get approval of your poll and polling procedure. Compare your results to national and global polls. How are they alike and different? Why?
Create an Online Poll. You can create a poll without having your own website! Use the Poll Generator found at Public Safety Data Polls. You have to register you name and password and then define the type of poll you wish to create. You have a choice of multiple choice or yes/no questions. Your poll will then be created and given a unique URL address. You can require users to give their name. Use a free poll generator site like or Zoomerang to create your own poll to add to your website. Change it periodically. Examine the specific guidelines for each of the poll generator sites.
More Websites
CBS News Polls
This website provides the results of current or recently conducted public opinion surveys.
Similar Websites:
2) LA Times Polls
3) Poll Vault at Washington Post
4) USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll
5) USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll Results
General Social Survey Codebook
The General Social Survey is an almost annual personal interview survey of U.S. households conducted since 1972 by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).
Related Websites:
2) Center on Policy Attitudes
3) Data Sources (Links-site)
4) Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
5) Odum Institute for Research in Social Science
6) Public Agenda Online
7) Social Science Data Archives
8) Social Science Data on the Net from University of California, San Diego
Polls: Frequently Asked Questions at CNN
This site has the answers to the most frequently asked questions about CNN polls.
Related Website:
2) Polls - Frequently Asked Questions
Public Opinion Polls on the Internet from the Richter Library, University of Miami
This links-site connects to online sources for guides, E-journals, databases, data archives, national polls, organizations, and academic research on public opinion.
Related Links-Site:
2) Data Directory at the Washington Post
This 'consumer's guide' to public opinion data on a range of economic and related issues, such as education, trade, and Social Security.
Survey 101 – A Complete Guide to a Successful Survey from Perseus Corporation
Although this article is written for the business world, it has lots of good information about the design and use of a survey.
Related Website:
2) Survey Research Methods at the American Statistical Association
Technology Survey at National Public Radio
This poll by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government shows that people overwhelmingly think that computers and the Internet have made Americans' lives better.
Websites For Teachers
Pet Survey (Grade 3)
This is a mathematical problem solving activity involving a pet survey, where students record and interpret information from a student made graph.
Media Center Orientation Survey (Grade 6)
Students first take a survey on reading preferences and Internet use, use the data to construct a graph, and then interpret the graphs.
Polls at TeachWorld
Here is a lesson on polls from Channel One.
Student Litter Survey
Students will find out about their own attitudes and habits of littering.
Related Website:
Recycling Survey
Too Free, Or Not Too Free? (Grades 6-12) from The New York Times Company
In this lesson, students will create a survey that examines what level of electronic surveillance might be acceptable to members of the school and community. Students then poll the community, and analyze the results in the form of graphs and a written news article.
paper & pencil
value judgment
public opinion
focus group
focus group
charts & graphs
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 5/01, Updated 3/02.