Our 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 around the world.
History of the Roper Center
Elmo Roper was one of the pioneers of the field of public opinion research. In 1933, he co-founded one of the first marketing research firms, Cherington, Wood, and Roper. Later he started his own research company, Elmo Roper, Inc. Roper was the director of the Fortune Survey, the first national poll based on scientific sampling techniques, from 1935 to 1950. His correct prediction of the 1936 Franklin Roosevelt landslide over Alf Landon helped establish scientific polling as a viable industry.
In 1947, he donated his data collection to Williams College, creating the Roper Center, the first social science data archive. By convincing other polling pioneers to send their data to the Center as well, he assembled a collection with the breadth and depth of data necessary for scholars and policymakers to make informed and responsible use of public opinion research.