The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University is one of the world’s leading archives of social science data, and the oldest specializing in data from public opinion surveys.
The Center’s mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate public opinion data; to serve as a resource to help improve the practice of survey research; and to broaden the understanding of public opinion through the use of survey data in the United States and abroad. Founded in 1947 by Elmo Roper, the Roper Center holds data ranging from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present.
Its collection now includes over 23,000 datasets and 725,000 questions with responses in Roper iPoll, and adds hundreds more each year. In total, the archive contains responses from millions of individuals on a vast range of topics.
Most of the surveys in the Roper Center were conducted on national samples, but there are also some state and local surveys, as well as a number of surveys of special populations of interest. Nearly all of the surveys are based on representative samples drawn according to the best practices of the time. Most of the data are from the United States, but over 100 nations are represented.
Since its beginning, the Roper Center has focused on surveys conducted by the news media and commercial polling firms. However, it also holds many academic surveys, including important historical collections from the National Opinion Research Center and Princeton University’s Office of Public Opinion Research.
The Roper Center has a strong presence in the public opinion community and maintains cooperative relationships with other archives around the world. Its board of directors contains representatives from both academic and commercial public opinion research. The Roper Center moved from the University of Connecticut to Cornell University in 2015.