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Grinnell College National Poll

We ask tough questions. We strive to think bigger.

Grinnell College has a long history of exploring issues of purpose. This legacy, coupled with our focus on engaging students and celebrating diverse perspectives, has been the foundation of the Grinnell College National Poll.

First launched as a pilot project in August of 2018, the poll partners Grinnell College faculty and students with nationally-renowned pollster J. Ann Selzer to probe the political attitudes of the American public, providing thoughtful and timely information on current events, national trends and important policy questions.

Today, under the leadership of President Anne F. Harris, the poll supports a four-year investigation into the health of American democracy by examining public attitudes on liberty, equality, and institutions of democratic governance. It is a trusted source of information for journalists and the public, a platform for innovative teaching in the classroom, and a vital way for Grinnell College to join the national conversation about our nation’s future.

As a school powered by constant innovation and creativity, this poll is a noteworthy addition to the rich and vibrant learning environment at Grinnell College.

Blog powered by the Grinnell College Data Inquiry and Social Inquiry Lab (DASIL)

March 2021 Results

Pessimistic View of Race Relations Exists Among Majority of Americans

As an element of American life, a majority of people in the country view the state of race relations as mostly bad according to the newest edition of the Grinnell College National Poll. Most Americans favor student loan forgiveness; no return to “normal” anytime soon.

Most Americans Agree on Four Foundations of Democracy, but Execution of Those Ideals Receives Failing Grades

While Americans have high ideals for what makes up our democracy, a new Grinnell College National Poll shows our country gets failing grades when it comes to executing those ideals in real life.

Analysis

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson, Poll Director and Assoc. Prof. Political Science

What were some of the major findings in this poll? What does the poll say about Americans' optimism on the pandemic? What does the poll say about race relations in America?

J. Ann Selzer

J. Ann Selzer, President of Selzer & Co.

What does this poll say about how President Biden is performing? How do people feel about the issues in our country today? What does this poll indicate about people's confidence in past and future elections?

Cori Jakubiak

Cori Jakubiak, Associate Professor of Education

How do Americans feel about the student loan debt crisis? How does student loan debt impact everyone? Do people support some form of student debt forgiveness?

Danielle Lussier

Danielle Lussier, Associate Professor of Political Science

How would Americans grade our democracy based on this poll? Does the poll tell us how Americans think democracy is falling short? What was the biggest surprise you saw in this poll?

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September 2020 Results

Joe Biden Leads Donald Trump in Latest Grinnell College National Poll

72% of likely voters “extremely motivated” to vote; voter fraud concerns rise among Republicans.

Majority of Americans View In-Person Return to School Unsafe at Any Level

52% of Americans say President Trump is not doing enough to contain the virus.

Naming George Floyd Alters Viewpoints on Racial Inequality

Framing the issue of racial inequality around the victims of racial violence has an impact on how Americans view the issue.

Poll Analysis

Peter Hanson

Peter Hanson, Poll Director and Assoc. Prof. Political Science

What does the poll show about the presidential race? What are the perceptions of voter fraud? How does Donald Trump get re-elected in November?

J. Ann Selzer

J. Ann Selzer, President of Selzer & Co.

What groups appear to be helping Joe Biden in this poll? What do you worry about if you are Joe Biden? What does this poll indicate about people's confidence in the upcoming election? What stood out to you about the question regarding school safety?

Cori Jakubiak

Cori Jakubiak, Associate Professor of Education

What did the poll reveal about how politics play into school safety? How might the divide on school safety affect the future of public school? How is online education at home affecting women and their role in education?

Still from YouTube video of Caleb Elfenbein

Caleb Elfenbein, Assoc. Prof. of History & Religious Studies

What did the poll show us about how people feel about racial inequality in America? Was there a difference in responses between white and non-white respondents? How does COVID-19 affect racial inequality?

Tammy McGavock

Tammy McGavock, Asst. Prof. of Economics

How do people's view of the economy differ among demographic groups? Does this poll suggest people can still achieve the American Dream? How has COVID-19 impacted people of color?

Ethan Pannell ’21

Ethan Pannell ’21

Pannell is a student who helped craft questions for the poll. Hear how he contributed to the poll and whether any of the results surprised him.

April 2020 Results

Donald Trump Trails Joe Biden in New Grinnell College National Poll

President Donald J. Trump has his highest approval rating in Grinnell College National Poll history, but still trails former Vice President Joe Biden in a head-to-head matchup.

Americans Showing Resolve Through COVID-19 Crisis

An overwhelming majority of Americans (88%) are confident the country will get through the COVID-19 crisis and be OK when it’s over, according to the newest edition of the Grinnell College National Poll.

Poll Analysis

Grinnell College faculty provide insight into the April 2020 poll results

Still from YouTube video of Eric Ohrn

Economic Impacts

Eric Ohrn, assistant professor of Economics, explains why the economic effects of COVID-19 will affect people under age 35 disproportionately.

Still from YouTube video of Caleb Elfenbein

Americans' Resolve

Caleb Elfenbein, associate professor of history and religious studies, discusses what people are willing to do to address COVID-19.

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October 2019 Results

People Are Proud to be Americans but Tired of “Political Circus”

Americans appreciate immigrant contributions and are receptive to criminal justice reform.

Job Approval Dips, Unfavorable Feelings Climb for President Trump

Vast majority of Americans are against foreign intervention in elections, divided on whether impeachment warranted.

November 2018 Results

The President’s Approval Ticks Up, but Coalition is Weakening

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has risen following the 2018 midterm elections, but that improved standing has not enhanced his chances at re-election in 2020, according to the Grinnell College National Poll.

Who is a Real American? Overwhelming Agreement on the Answer

What does it mean to be a “real American”? That was one of the many questions asked in the latest Grinnell College National Poll.

September 2018 Results

A Challenging Road to 2020

The inaugural Grinnell College National Poll shows President Donald Trump faces a challenging road to re-election in 2020.

Stand or Kneel?

A new Grinnell College National Poll shows that feelings about what professional football players do, or don’t do, during the playing of the national anthem are as intense as all the news coverage suggests.

Poll Shows Wide Support for Lawful Immigrants

A majority of U.S. residents show support for legal immigrants and are skeptical of suggestions that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes as a group than native-born Americans, according to a new Grinnell College National Poll.

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