Timeline of opinion polling and survey research

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This timeline covers opinion polling and survey research.

Full timeline

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Polling method Details Geographical location
1790 August 2 Census Offline The first United States Census is held. The Census would be held every 10 years and would be the largest poll in the United States. United States
1824 Opinion poll Offline The first known example of an opinion poll. This is a straw poll conducted by The Aru Pennsylvanian, showing Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 335 votes to 169 votes for the United States Presidency. Jackson would win the election. United States
1916 Periodic survey Offline The Literary Digest conducts the first of several pre-election polls for the United States presidential election, by mailing out millions of postcards asking people who they would vote for, and counting returns. It would successfully predict the victors in the Presidential elections of 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, and 1932. United States
1935 Polling organization founding Offline George Gallup founds the American Institute of Public Opinion, one of the main predecessors to Gallup, Inc.[1] United States
1936 Opinion poll Offline The Literary Digest incorrectly predicts that Alf Landon would defeat incumbent Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the United States Presidency, using a sample of 2.3 million voters. In contrast, George Gallup predicts a Roosevelt victory, using a smaller but more nationally representative sample. The incident highlights the importance of representative sampling compared to large sample sizes. United States
1938 September Polling organization founding Offline Jean Stoetzel founds the Institut Français d'Opinion Publique (IFOP) after meeting and being inspired by George Gallup France
1940 Census Offline The 1940 United States Census includes a long-form census for a subset of participants.[2] The long-form census would continue till the 2000 United States Census, and would eventually be discontinued for the American Community Survey United States
1941 Polling organization founding Offline NORC at the University of Chicago is founded as the National Opinion Research Center. It is initially at the University of Denver[3] United States (initially Denver, Colorado; later moved to Chicago)
1942 Polling organization founding Offline Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics, Portuguese name Instituto Brasileiro de Opinião Pública e Estatística (IBOPE) is founded. Brazil
1947 Polling organization founding Offline The Allensbach Institute is founded as the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research (AIPOR) by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann and Erich Peter Neumann Germany (Allensbach)
1947 May Association founding Offline The Gallup International Association is formed. It is an association of polling organizations around the world Switzerland (Zurich)
1947 September 4 Association founding Offline The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) are founded.[3][4] The founding is a result of discussions at a meeting in the Opera House at Central City, Colorado, July 29 - 31, 1946, in response to a call by Harry H. Field of the National Opinion Research Center, then at the University of Denver.
1948 Periodic survey Offline The first set of surveys listed under the American National Election Studies (ANES) is conducted. ANES includes pre-election and post-election surveys; initially conducted every presidential election season, and later conducted every national election season.[5] United States
1958 Polling organization founding Offline George Gallup consolidates all his polling operations under Gallup, Inc. United States
1972 Periodic survey In-person (occasionally, phone) The General Social Survey, a survey conducted every 1 or 2 years by the NORC at the University of Chicago, is conducted for the first time.[6] GSS would become the second-most cited survey in United States social science research, after the United States Census.(citation needed)
1973 September Periodic survey In-person The semi-annual Eurobarometer survey is conducted for the first time. Europe
1975 Association founding N/A The Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) is founded.
1975 Polling organization founding Offline Ipsos is founded by Didier Truchot in Paris, France.[7] France (Paris)
1975 Polling organization founding Offline Elway Research, a Seattle-based public opinion research firm, is founded. It conducts the Elway Poll, a monthly survey of voters in the U.S. state of Washington, and also conduct polls for newspapers. United States (Seattle, Washington)
1978 Polling organization founding (college-based) Offline The Marist Institute of Public Opinion (MIPO), that conducts the Marist Poll, is founded on the campus of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. It is the first college-based survey center. The first poll is conducted by Dr. Lee Miringoff on Dutchess County elections, for a class he is teaching on voting behavior.
1979 Polling organization founding Offline Public opinion polling and market research firm Angus Reid Inc. is founded. In 2000, it would be acquired by Ipsos and it would eventually be rebranded as Ipsos. Canada
1980 Polling organization founding (college-based) Offline The Siena Research Institute is founded as an affiliate of Siena College. United States
1980 Polling organization founding Offline Ekos Research Associates is founded by Carleton Graves. Canada (Winnipeg)
1981 Periodic survey In-person (occasionally, phone) The World Values Survey is conducted for the first time, initially limited to Europe and called the European Values Survey. The Survey would subsequently expand to almost 100 countries around the world.[8] Sweden (Stockholm) (headquarters; conducts surveys worldwide)
1984 Periodic survey Offline Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) is conceived.[9] The DHS Program is responsible for collecting and disseminating accurate, nationally representative data on health and population in developing countries. Global
1986 Polling organization founding Offline Léger Marketing is founded as Léger & Léger Canada
1988 Polling organization founding (college-based) Offline An informal polling operation begins at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. This would later morph into the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. United States (Hamden, Connecticut)
1990 Polling organization founding Offline The Times Mirror Company founds the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press to conduct polls on politics and policy. This would later become the Pew Research Center.[10] United States
1994 Polling organization founding Offline The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is founded.[11] United States (California)
1996 Polling organization changes Offline The Times Mirror Center for the People & Press becomes the Pew Research Center for the People & Press, as a result of the Pew Charitable Trusts becoming its primary sponsor. United States
1997 Polling organization founding Offline Harris Interactive, an opinion polling company, is created as a result of a merger between the Gordon Black Corporation and Louis Harris & Associates. United States
1999 Survey tool organization founding Online Online survey tool company SurveyMonkey is founded by Ryan Finley.[12] United States
2000 Polling organization founding Online YouGov is founded United Kingdom (London)
2000 Polling organization founding Offline American public opinion polling company Susquehenna Polling & Research is founded by James Lee. The company offers polling services for Republican candidates, trade groups, businesses and lobbying firms in its region of operation. United States (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland)
2001 Polling organization founding Offline Public Policy Polling, a polling firm for public opinion research for the Democratic Party of the United States, is founded by businessman Dean Debman. United States (Raleigh, North Carolina)
2002 Polling organization founding Offline The Suffolk University Political Research Center (SUPRC) is founded at Suffolk University by founding director David Paleologos, lecturer at the Government Department of Suffolk University's College of Arts and Sciences United States (Massachusetts; also conducts polls in New Hampshire)
2002 Periodic survey Offline The first round of the European Social Survey is conducted. The survey would be conducted once every two years since 2002.[13] Europe
2003 Polling organization founding Offline Rasmussen Reports is founded by Scott Rasmussen.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] United States
2004 Polling organization changes Offline The Pew Research Center moves to Washington, D.C. United States (Washington, D.C.)
2004 Meta-analysis website founding N/A Sam Wang of Princeton University undertakes a meta-analysis of state polling data to calculate a current snapshot of the probable range of election outcomes. This is a predecessor to the Princeton Election Consortium (PEC), officially launched in 2008.[21][22] United States
2005 Periodic survey The first full implementation of the American Community Survey happens, with data collected throughout the year. This is inspired by the long-form survey previously included inside the United States Census. United States
2005 Organization founding The Monmouth University Polling Institute is founded. United States
2006 Periodic survey Offline The Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) is conducted for the first time by a consortium of 39 universities, and managed by a team at Harvard University. The CCES includes a mix of standard questions (included in all surveys) (called "Common Content") and custom questions requested by researchers, which are administered to different subsets of the participants (called "Team Content"). The CCES is conducted on 1000 people.[23] United States
2008 March 7 Meta-analysis website founding N/A The website FiveThirtyEight is launched by Nate Silver. The website performs analyses of opinion polling results and also generally discusses predictions in politics, sports, and other domains.[24] United States (primary focus)
2008 Meta-analysis website founding N/A The Princeton Election Consortium (PEC) website launches.[22]
2012 March 29 Product launch Online Google Surveys, that distributes surveys online through the "surveywall" method, launches as Google Consumer Surveys.[25][26] limited set of countries including United States (list of countries at launch unclear)
2012 Product launch Phone (via SMS) GeoPoll launches as part of Mobile Accord, Inc. and does SMS surveys of Tunisian youth in the wake of the Arab Spring as well as a SMS survey for the African Development Bank.[27] Africa
2012 Organization founding Online Survata, that distributes surveys online through the "surveywall" method, launches United States (more countries added over time)

See also


  1. "George H. Gallup, Founder: 1901-1984". Gallup. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  2. Gauthier, Jason. "1940 (Population) – History – U.S. Census Bureau". www.census.gov. Retrieved 2015-07-31. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "History". American Association for Public Opinion Research. 
  4. "History". World Association for Public Opinion Research. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  5. "ANES Data Center". Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  6. "GSS Frequently Asked Questions". GSS Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  7. "Our history". Ipsos. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  8. "History of the WVSA". World Values Survey. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  9. "A systematic review of Demographic and Health Surveys: data availability and utilization for research". World Health Organization. September 1, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2016. 
  10. "Our History". Pew Research Center. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  11. "About PPIC". Public Policy Institute of California. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  12. Arrington, Michael (September 8, 2009). "Survey Monkey Growing Like A Weed, Fills Out Exec Team". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  13. "Data and Documentation by Round/Year". European Social Survey. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  14. Blumenthal, Mark; Edwards-Levy, Ariel (2013-08-22). "Pollster Scott Rasmussen Leaves Firm He Founded A Decade Ago". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  15. Siegelheim, Matt. "Scott Rasmussen to Launch New Media Venture". Rasmussen Media Group. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  16. Prang, Allison (2013-08-22). "Founder Departs Polling Firm Rasmussen Reports". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  17. "Company Overview of Rasmussen Reports, LLC". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  18. "Scott Rasmsusen". LinkedIn. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  19. "Rasmussen Reports Announces a Change in Management". Rasmussen Reports. 2013-08-22. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  20. Byers, Dylan (2013-08-22). "Rasmussen founder leaves company". Politico. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  21. Wang, Sam (July 19, 2004). "Meta-analysis of all state polls". DailyKos. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "About the Princeton Election Consortium". Princeton Election Consortium. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  23. "Welcome to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study!". Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  24. "FiveThirtyEight.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info – DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2016-09-03. 
  25. Shields, Mike (March 29, 2012). "Google Unveils New Revenue Option for Web Publishers. Microsurvey product to provide an alternative to paywalls". AdWeek. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  26. Schwarz, Barry (March 29, 2012). "Google Launches Consumer Surveys". Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  27. "AfDB Goes Mobile for Research Data with Partner Mobile Accord". GeoPoll.