DATABASE OF THE MONTH: November is Election Month. Try POLLING THE NATIONS....
Polling the Nations is an online database providing the results to over 18,000 polling surveys from 1986 to present. Updated weekly, it is an excellent source for finding polling data on various issues over time. Although the emphasis is on U.S. polls there is some coverage of international polls. It includes not just polling information from major news and polling organizations but also polls conducted by advocacy groups such as the Sierra Club and Mothers Against Drunk Driving although dates of coverage will vary.. The search engine provides searching capability by subject, keyword, geography, organization responsible for the survey, demographic group, and date.
Each poll includes full questions, results, source, date, survey method and sample size. Results can be easily exported into an Excel worksheet. During the election season the database can be used to track the public’s perception on a candidate’s capabilities over time. For example, a keyword search for “Romney” and “economy” yielded 137 surveys dating from October 7, 2007 to September 20, 2012(search performed 10/19/2012). A keyword search combining “Obama” and “job performance” yielded 51 survey dating from January 13, 2009 to September 2, 2012 (search conducted 10/19/2012).
While the database includes surveys from most of the major polling sources such as Gallup, CBS, Zogby, FOX, CNN, NBC, ABC, there is some time delay. Coverage of each polling source is not necessarily comprehensive. Persons interested in current polling data on candidates for public office should check various news organizations’ web sites. Polling the Nations is available to current students, faculty, and under “Databases” at the University Libraries’ web site at http://library.albany.edu/ .
To contact Dick Irving, Political Science subject specialist, and find more information on political sciences resources, see http://library.albany.edu/subject/politicalscience .