This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: March 31, 2005

What do you think? Public opinion polls on the Internet

What is the most popular breed of dog? What is the number one least-trusted profession? What is the number one factor in a healthy relationship?

Don't know the answers? Try searching any of the hundreds of scientific and not-so-scientific opinion-poll Web sites available on the Internet. Some polls and surveys have been created by well-known organizations like Gallup and Pew, while others are created by people with an interest in the topic.

Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research ( will point you to Web sites that gather scientific-based, public-opinion surveys. For instance, the Gallup organization ( provides access to domestic and international surveys on recent hot-button political and economic topics. The Pew Research Center ( also has a number of specialized opinion and data-survey projects being conducted annually. Its research program, The People and the Press (, covers all aspects of government policy and economic development, both nationally and internationally. Recent surveys have focused on the soldiers in Iraq, national security, globalization and anti-Americanism. For the past five years, the Pew Internet and American Life project ( has been measuring the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

Public Agenda ( collects data from Americans on issues ranging from education to foreign policy to immigration to religion and civility in American life. The Washington Post Guide ( provides a listing of political polls conducted by scientific and popular organizations. The Economic Policy Institute ( provides links to snapshots and full reports from various departments of the U.S. government and its own research surveys.

If you're working on a project involving data analysis, you might want to use some of the datasets available at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) ( The site leads to hundreds of social-science surveys and detailed datasets; however, only a summary is available online. Current UB faculty, students and staff may get access to the dataset by contacting Leslie McCain at She will access ICPSR, download the dataset requested and forward it to you via a password-protected URL.

Looking for less scientific polls? The Google Directory ( lists sites that conduct general surveys on both popular cultural and political issues. The Polling Report ( gathers together polls conducted primarily by media outlets like ABC, CBS and Time. It has no archive of past polls, and instead focuses on current hot-topic issues.

Finally, if you're interested in answering any of the questions posed earlier or would like to create an opinion poll of your own, try BigPulse Opinion Markets at ( The polls are created by the average Internet user and answered by the global community. Topics range from animal welfare to world peace. In between, you'll find polls on music, celebrities, civil liberties and the Internet.

Whether you're looking for specific data or just want to share your opinion with others, these Web sites will start you on the right path.

By the way, German shepherd, lawyer, and communication. Now you know!

—Laura Taddeo and Cynthia Tysick, University Libraries