Conducted by Hamilton Students and Faculty

The Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center at Hamilton College has funded a series of polls on a range of timely topics. Students have a unique opportunity to receive training in polling and to conduct pilot surveys. The more recent final polls were conducted by Knowledge Networks, as indicated in the executive summaries, and Zogby International conducted the earlier final polls.

Hamilton’s Levitt Center is committed to creating opportunities for students to become involved in public affairs. Established with support from Arthur Levitt, Sr.’s family, the center contributes to the community through its speakers series, research projects, surveys and collaborative efforts with local agencies.

Survey of Public Opinion and Experience of Law Enforcement in Oneida and Herkimer Counties

February 2021

In response to widespread protests about racism in law enforcement in 2020, the NY Governor's office launched Executive Order 203 requiring municipalities to submit plans for police reform. To help inform these plans, The Law & Justice Lab of the Levitt Center for Public Affairs, in cooperation with The College-Community Partnership for Racial Justice, launched a professional poll of Oneida and Herkimer Counties in late August 2020 to assess attitudes and experiences with law enforcement. A door-to-door/street poll was also administered in the Cornhill section of Utica, a neighborhood of predominantly African-American and other minority residents that historically have been underrepresented by such polls. Prof. Gbemende Johnson at Hamilton and Prof. Veronica Tichenor of SUNY Poly interpreted the results in a student practicum held in Fall 2020.

Survey of Russian Elites 2020: New Perspectives on Foreign and Domestic Policy

August 14, 2020
The Survey of Russian Elites, spanning more than 25 years, is the only repeated cross-sectional survey of contemporary Russian foreign policy elites in existence. Once the 2020 survey wave is added, the combined data set will include 1,909 interviews with high-ranking Russians working in a broad range of occupations in Moscow. As such, the project is uniquely positioned to shed light on what highly placed Russians say about US-Russian relations, Russian foreign policy, and the domestic situation in Russia. The 2020 wave of the survey was conducted between February and March 2020 with financial support from the Levitt Center and analyzed by students in a survey research course taught by Professor and Chair of Government, Sharon Werning Rivera.

The Russian Elite 2016: Perspectives on Foreign and Domestic Policy

May 11, 2016
As one of the few surveys—and perhaps the only—of Russian elites to be conducted since Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, the newly released Hamilton College Russian Elites 2016 represents a unique resource. Survey data on whether Russian elites support the more muscular foreign policy that has been pursued during Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term (2012-present) have been largely unavailable–until now.

Perspectives on Foreign and Domestic Policy

As one of the few surveys—and perhaps the only—of Russian elites to be conducted since Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, the newly released Hamilton College Russian Elites 2016 represents a unique resource. Survey data on whether Russian elites support the more muscular foreign policy that has been pursued during Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term (2012-present) have been largely unavailable–until now.

Attitudes towards Gun Control and School Violence

December 12, 2013
Despite the fact that most high school students feel relatively safe in their schools (over 90 percent feel very safe or relatively safe in their schools), a significant number are concerned about the possibility of a mass shooting in their school or community (nearly 60 percent are either somewhat concerned, fairly concerned or very concerned), according to a national poll of high school seniors. Conducted by Professor of Economics Stephen Wu and students in his Behavioral Economics class, the survey was released on Dec. 12.

The 2012 Election and the Sources of Partisan Polarization: A Survey of American Political Attitudes

May 21, 2012
Despite the hope that President Obama’s clear victory last November might lead to a reduction in partisan polarization, the results of new survey conducted by the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center at Hamilton College indicate that American are as divided as ever.

National Youth Opinion Poll on Poverty and Policy

December 12, 2011
An often ignored demographic group, American young people, say that the top two causes of poverty are a lack of jobs (83.7 percent) followed by a lack of health insurance (64.3 percent) according to a new national survey of young Americans’ attitudes on poverty, released on Dec. 12. More than two thirds (67.7 percent) also cited the growing incomes of the wealthiest people as negatively affecting the quality of life of those with lower incomes. Almost three-quarters of respondents (73.8 percent) intend to vote in next year’s presidential elections.

National Youth Poll on U.S. Economics

April 29, 2010
A panel of students taking Labor Economics with Associate Professor of Economics Stephen Wu presented the results of the most recent Levitt Center Youth Poll via webcast on April 29, 2010. The survey of high school students’ attitudes toward the U.S. economy and the performance of President Obama revealed significant difference in attitudes on both issues between African-American and white teens. Two-thirds of African-American teenagers believe they’ll be more prosperous than their parents. In contrast, a little more than a third of white students believe their standard of living will be better than their parents.

Climate Change and Environment Issues

February 6, 2007
It’s an inconvenient truth that would make Al Gore shudder: Despite an increasing emphasis at school and in the media on the causes and effects of global climate change, most American high school students don’t adequately understand the issue, according to a national telephone survey of 900 students conducted with Zogby International.

“Hot Button Issues”

January 5, 2006
Researchers at Hamilton College in collaboration with the polling firm Zogby International conducted The National Youth Hot Button Issues Poll. High school seniors were selected for this eighth in the Hamilton Youth Poll series as representatives of a rising generation of Americans and potential voters in November 2006. One thousand high school seniors from across the U.S. were contacted by phone for this study of attitudes on abortion, guns and gays. The poll was funded by Hamilton's Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent.


March 20, 2003
A majority of high school seniors support military action to remove Saddam Hussein from power and believe that President Bush is “too anxious to go to war” according to a poll released by the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center at Hamilton College and Zogby International.

Immigration Opinion

February 19, 2003
Despite believing that immigrants enhance our society, few Americans favor increasing immigration, according to a national poll conducted by researchers at Hamilton College and Zogby International. The Hamilton Immigration Opinion Poll finds that more than 4 in 10 Americans favor decreasing immigration levels. Results also indicate that concerns over national security outweigh support for immigration increases.

Muslim America

May 30, 2002
Nearly 75 percent of Muslim Americans either know someone who has or have themselves experienced an act of anti-Muslim discrimination, harassment, verbal abuse or physical attack since September 11, according to a national survey released May 30 at the National Press Club. The Muslim America Poll by Hamilton College and Zogby International, shows that almost two out of three Muslims believe that the FBI questioning and arrests of Muslims in the U.S. after Sept. 11 are unwarranted abuses of civil liberties. The poll of 521 Muslims living in America was developed by Hamilton College and administered by Zogby International.

Gay Issues

August 27, 2001
Two-thirds of this year’s high school graduates favor legal recognition of gay marriages, a view shared by just one-third of the adult population. According to a Hamilton College poll of high school seniors, the class of 2001 sides with gays on contentious issues from gay marriage to gay Scoutmasters. Comparisons with recent adult polls reveal that the graduates are consistently more liberal than older Americans on gay issues. But the poll also revealed that many graduates doubt they would be comfortable with gays in common social situations. And the Hamilton researchers found a solidly anti-gay minority, about 30 percent of the graduates, who have negative attitudes toward gays and conservative opinions on most gay issues.

Political Attitudes of Young Americans

October 2000
“Cynical” is a word often used to describe the political attitudes of young Americans. But when asked if they thought politicians were corrupt or dishonest, New Yorkers ages 18-24, were much more optimistic than their peers nationwide, according to a recent survey sponsored by the Levitt Public Affairs Center. The study was conducted by Hamilton College students in a government class led by Philip Klinkner, the James S. Sherman Associate Professor of Government with the aid of survey experts, Zogby International. This New York survey was a follow-up to a national poll and examined young New Yorker’s attitudes about politics and the senate race.

Youth and Guns

August 2000
Nine out of 10 American high school students support key handgun control proposals, according to a poll conducted by researchers at Hamilton College. The Hamilton College Youth and Guns Poll is the first national survey to probe high school students' attitudes toward gun issues. This survey of more than 1,000 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors was designed and analyzed by Hamilton Sociology Professor Dennis Gilbert and his students. It was wholly funded by Hamilton’s Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center and administered by the polling firm Zogby International.

Racial Attitudes of Young Americans

In 1999, the Arthur Levitt Center Public Affairs Center released its survey of the Racial Attitudes of Young Americans in conjunction with the NAACP and Zogby International. The survey, developed by the students in Government 340 (Race and American Democracy) and supervised by Professor of Government Philip Klinkner, was designed to gain a better understanding of some of the issues and trends in American race relations that might confront young people in the next century. The press conference announcing the results was carried live by C-SPAN. The survey was also widely reported in the national media, including stories on NPR, BBC, and CNN, and in the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Times, among many others.

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