The Roper Center – a nationally-recognized repository of public opinion polls going back to the 1940s – has inked a deal with CBS News to organize and catalog the network’s recent political public opinion polls in the lead-up to the November elections.
The Center has created a searchable database of the CBS/New York Times polls, on topics ranging from presidential approval ratings to candidate horserace numbers to approval (and disapproval) of the war in Iraq, among others. The database was compiled by Marc Maynard, director of technical services for the Roper Center.
The polls can be found on the CBS News website.
“CBS wanted to do this in preparation for the crush of hits they expect on their politics website as we grow closer to the election,” says Mark Abrahamson, director of the Roper Center.
“We were able to provide a valuable service for them, and we’re working with other news organizations to do the same.”
In addition to being able to track the rising and falling fortunes of candidates, Congress, and the president, visitors to the site can see how Americans feel about health care, the economy, and immigration.
A search for “presidential job approval” turns up 25 different poll questions asked on the subject since January 2007.
The news for the outgoing leader is grim: the polls show that only 27 percent of the public approved of the job President Bush was doing this month.
Visitors are able to click on the related CBS story on the poll, or on another link to examine the poll in its entirety. The search also links to additional relevant sites within the Roper Center archives.
“While this is a recent history of CBS polls, the Roper Center itself is a treasure trove for any researcher looking to examine the evolution of public opinion over the last 60 years,” says Abrahamson, who noted that the questions on polls from decades ago are just as interesting as the answers, especially considering the presidential candidates this year.
For example, Gallup posed the question in the 1940s: “If a woman was running for president and was qualified
in every other way, would you consider voting for her?”
Abrahamson says he will likely announce additional partnerships with other news organizations in the coming months.
Like the CBS-Roper web page, he expects all future joint endeavors will have links to UConn, bringing thousands of new visitors to the University’s home page.