​The AP-NORC Center Update

​Welcome to the latest edition of The AP-NORC Center Update.


Delivering Insights from the 2018 General Social Survey

The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the GSS staff have collaboratively analyzed the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS).  Since 1972, the GSS has monitored change in attitudes and the growing complexity of American society. The survey provides a clear and unbiased perspective on  Americans' thoughts about such issues as national spending priorities, race relations, gender equality, immigration policies, and the legalization of marijuana.

  • A decade after the Great Recession officially ended, Americans' satisfaction with their personal financial situations has rebounded to pre-recession levels. More adults again say that they are satisfied with their financial situation than unsatisfied, and more say their financial situation has gotten better than say it has stayed the same or has gotten worse. But not all Americans have fully recovered, and older adults, African Americans, those without college degrees, and women are all more likely than their counterparts to have negative views of their finances. Read more
  • There is increased acceptance of gender equality in politics, the workforce, and at home. Eighty-four percent of Americans say women are just as suited emotionally for politics as men—an all-time high. Americans are also largely supportive of working women: 75% disagree that it is best for men to work and women to stay in the home, another all-time high. Similarly, 74% agree that being a working mother doesn't negatively impact her relationship with her child. Read more
  • Attitudes toward race relations are liberalizing, with increasing support for government assistance to black Americans. More Americans than ever (52%) say the government spends too little on improving the conditions of blacks and that more say the government should try to make up for past discrimination (28%). The public is also now more likely to attribute inequalities between blacks and whites to discrimination and lack of access to education and are less likely to attribute them to a lack of motivation or will among blacks. Still, few favor affirmative action for blacks to make up for past discrimination.  Read more
  • Improving the nation's education system, providing assistance to the poor, and improving the nation's health top a long list of public policy issues that Americans say the government is spending too little on, while almost half say the government is overspending on foreign aid. Few Americans are satisfied with the amount of money the government is devoting to a wide range of public policy issues—from local and other domestic issues such as assistance to the poor, dealing with drug addiction, and mass transportation, to global issues such as foreign aid and space exploration. Read more
  • For the first time, the number of Americans who want immigration to the United States to be decreased has dipped below the percent who say it should remain static. Immigration should be decreased according to 34%, down from 41% two years ago. Forty-one percent say it should remain the same, not much different from the 39% in 2016. Few Americans would like to see an increase in immigration, but that has also risen to 23%, up from 17% in 2016. Read more
  • Americans' support for legalized marijuana has been growing steadily over the years, mirroring changes in marijuana laws across the country. Sixty-one percent say marijuana should be legal, up from 57% two years ago. Thirty-one percent say it should not be legal, compared with 38% in 2016. Read more

Our Latest Reports

The Link between Government Performance and Attitudes toward the U.S. Democratic System

A new UChicago Harris/AP-NORC Poll shows a majority of Americans want major structural changes to the U.S. system of government, and support for change is tied to people's discontent with the government's handling of problems. The survey explores Americans' views about how well the government handles various issues and how well it is representing people like them. It examines how concerns about both government performance and representation connect to overall attitudes toward American democracy. Read more 

Perceptions of College Admissions Practices


Survey conducted by the Higher Education Analytics Center at NORC and The AP-NORC Center examine the admission practices of colleges, finding that Americans would like to see change in the college admissions process, particularly when it comes to the emphasis colleges place on factors other than academics. Overall, 38% consider the college admission process to be fair, 36% say it is unfair and 25% say it is neither fair nor unfair. Read more 

Attitudes toward the Opioid Crisis and the Health Care Law

Forty-eight percent of Americans consider the use of opioids - both prescription and illegal drugs - a serious issue for their community, and both pharmaceutical companies and opioid users themselves are seen as most responsible for the problem of addiction. A recent AP-NORC survey found that when it comes to solutions to the opioid problem, the public wants their communities to prioritize treatment over cracking down on drug addicts. Read more

And in the wake of President Donald Trump's renewed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Americans would prefer that President Obama's signature legislation remain in place, albeit with changes. Read more

20 Years after Columbine: Gun laws, School Shootings, and Public Safety

Twenty years after the school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, most parents don't have a lot of confidence in the ability of schools to handle an active shooter situation, even as various procedures put in place to deter such a threat are seen as effective. Read more

A recent AP-NORC Center survey also finds that 67% Americans support stricter gun laws in the United States, but many question whether tighter regulations can reduce some forms of gun violence. About 6 in 10 Americans say schools, places of worship, and colleges have been become less safe in the past 20 years, and few think these places where people often congregate are safer now. Read more

Should Gambling on Sports be Legal?

Sixty percent of Americans endorse legalized gambling on professional sports in their state, but only 42% in an AP-NORC Center survey approve of betting legally on college sports. Self-described sports fans are especially supportive of legalizing both professional and college sports gambling in their state. However, those who consider gambling a major problem in the United States are generally opposed to legalization. Read more

Trump's Possible Ties to Russia and the Mueller Investigation

Most Americans are at least moderately confident in the impartiality of the Justice Department's investigation of possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The AP-NORC Center survey found that 58% think President Trump has attempted to impede or obstruct that investigation. Read more

Before the release of Robert Mueller's report, 53% of the public say Congress should continue to investigate President Trump's possible ties with Russia, while 45% think Congress should stop.  Read more

Seen and Heard

Inside Higher Ed, April 29: The surveys on college admissions were discussed in an opinion piece, "Ethical College Admissions: Fairness, Perception, Reality, Relief."

NPR, April 18: Findings from the AP-NORC survey on the Mueller investigation were cited in the segment, "Before Mueller Report Is Released, Republicans And Democrats Take Sides."

The Hill, April 16:  The AP-NORC survey on school safety was featured in the article, "Just one-third of parents are extremely confident their children's schools can stop a gunman."

The New York Times, April 10: An Op-Ed column by Thomas Edsall features AP-NORC's 2018 survey on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

CNN, April 7:  The article, "Very few Americans are satisfied with campaign finance laws, but most don't know a lot about them", cites an AP-NORC 2015 survey on money in politics

New Faces of The AP-NORC Center

Yasuyuki Saito

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Yasuyuki Saito is a Fulbright visiting scholar at NORC at the University of Chicago. He joined The AP-NORC Center on March 30 to research survey methodology for the next nine months.  Saito is a senior survey methodologist at Asahi Shimbun, a top quality newspaper in Japan. He conducts surveys using dual frame RDDs, mail, in-person, and the internet. In addition, he writes analytical articles on opinion polls for the newspaper.

Saito has attended the last seven AAPOR conferences, where he has frequently presented papers on survey research in Japan.  He received Bachelor and Master Degrees in Electrical Engineering from Japan's Chiba University.

Since Saito's son has just entered senior high school, his wife and son have remained in Tokyo. Saito is such an avid bike rider and accomplished mechanic that he brought two bicycles with him to Chicago from Japan. 

Recently Released Data Sets

After about six months or so, The AP-NORC Center makes its data sets available to the public. Once released, data sets are available on the individual survey's project page.

Surveys with recently released data sets are:

The data and documentation are also donated to the polling archive at the Roper Center for Public Opinion at Cornell University.