Methodology

How Does the Gallup Poll Social Series Work?

Long-Term U.S. Trends on Social, Economic, and Political Topics

What is the Gallup Poll Social Series?

The Gallup Poll Social Series (GPSS) is a set of public opinion surveys designed to monitor U.S. adults' views on numerous social, economic, and political topics. The topics are arranged thematically across 12 surveys. Gallup administers these surveys during the same month every year and includes the survey's core trend questions in the same order each administration. Using this consistent standard allows for unprecedented analysis of changes in trend data that are not susceptible to question order bias and seasonal effects.

Introduced in 2001, the GPSS is the primary method Gallup uses to update several hundred long-term Gallup trend questions, some dating back to the 1930s. The series also includes many newer questions added to address contemporary issues as they emerge.

The core questions of the surveys differ each month, but several questions assessing the state of the nation are standard on all 12: presidential job approval, congressional job approval, satisfaction with the direction of the U.S., assessment of the U.S. job market, and an open-ended measurement of the nation's "most important problem." Additionally, Gallup includes extensive demographic questions on each survey, allowing for in-depth analysis of trends.

How are interviews conducted for the Gallup Poll Social Series?

Gallup interviews U.S. adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using a dual-frame design, which includes both landline and cellphone numbers. Gallup samples landline and cellphone numbers using random-digit-dial methods. Gallup purchases samples for this study from Survey Sampling International (SSI). Gallup chooses landline respondents at random within each household based on which member had the next birthday. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Gallup conducts interviews in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking.

How many people are interviewed as part of the Gallup Poll Social Series?

Gallup interviews a minimum of 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older for each GPSS survey. Samples for the June Minority Rights and Relations survey are significantly larger because Gallup includes oversamples of blacks and Hispanics to allow for reliable estimates among these key subgroups.

How often are the Gallup Poll Social Series interviews conducted?

Gallup conducts one GPSS survey per month, with each devoted to a different topic, as follows:

  • January: Mood of the Nation
  • February: World Affairs
  • March: Environment
  • April: Economy and Finance
  • May: Values and Beliefs
  • June: Minority Rights and Relations (conducted periodically)
  • July: Consumption Habits
  • August: Work and Education
  • September: Governance
  • October: Crime
  • November: Health
  • December: Lifestyle (conducted periodically)

Are the Gallup Poll Social Series samples weighted?

Yes, Gallup weights samples to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cellphone users in the two sampling frames. Gallup also weights its final samples to match the U.S. population according to gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only, landline only, both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. Census.

Where can I find results from the Gallup Poll Social Series and learn more about the survey?

Gallup routinely writes about GPSS findings in news articles published on Gallup.com. Sign up for Gallup News alerts to get these articles as soon as they are published. Gallup also archives GPSS trends in Trends A-Z.

To access and analyze historical Gallup trends dating back to the 1930s, subscribe to Gallup Analytics.


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