George Gallup, Ph.D. taught journalism at Drake University, Northwestern University, and Columbia University where he devised research techniques for a variety of fields. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion, resolving to perform independent polling without the support of any political or special interest groups.
The first Gallup Poll, instituted in 1935, sought public opinion about President Roosevelt’s attempts to create relief, recovery, and work programs during the Great Depression. The results showed:
- 60% of Americans believed “expenditures by the Government for relief and recovery” were too great
- 9% said they were too little
- 31% said they were about right
In 1936 Gallup accurately predicted the presidential election of Franklin Roosevelt over Alf Landon. Soon his nationally syndicated polls were highly regarded.