Short of mind-reading, there are ways to get an idea of what people think and feel about current events in America and around the world. How, you say? Well through polling data of course! Below are three resources accessible through the library where you can find out about what people think.
The first is Gallup Brain, which contains answers to more than 125,000 questions and responses from the more than 3.5 million people interviewed by the Gallup Poll since 1935. You can try an open search, or browse by Topics & Trends, or opt to look through a particular decade.
The second is Polling the Nations, a database that contains the full text of 500,000 questions and responses from over 14,000 surveys conducted since 1986 in the United States and more than 100 other countries around the world (really a great source for polls conducted in other countries). Like Gallup Brain you can search by topic (select Drop Down Lists for searching) or you can try an open search.
Just this fall we obtained a membership with the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. Membership with Roper provides us with access to iPOLL, which is a true "one-stop-shop" for access to public opinion data from every major US survey firm (150+), and more than half a million questions and answers. Like the others you can opt to conduct an open search (a little bit more sophisticated searching capabilities here), browse by topic, or search by time period. Also, like Gallup, data is available from 1935 to the present. Through RoperExpress, you can also search for full datasets to download and analyze in statistical packages such as SPSS, SAS or STATA.