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What do Americans think about religion, government spending, and sexuality? For answers to those questions and more, researchers and reporters turn to the General Social Survey, or GSS. The modestly named poll reveals Americans’ views on nearly every social issue—including hot-button concerns. Established in 1972 by late UChicago sociologist James A. Davis, the GSS began at a time when attitudinal research often had commercial, not scientific, aims. It soon gained the attention of social scientists, media outlets, and policy makers.

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