Elmo Burns Roper Jr. (July 31, 1900 in Hebron, Nebraska – April 30, 1971 in Redding, Connecticut) was a pollster known for his pioneering work in market research and opinion polling. In 1933, he cofounded Cherington, Wood, and Roper, a marketing research firm.[1] When that partnership fell apart, he founded his own research company, Elmo Roper, Inc.[2] He was hired by Henry Luce in 1935 to run surveys for Fortune, continuing these surveys for 15 years. His prediction of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's electoral victory over Alf Landon in 1936 was correct to within 0.9%; his 1940 prediction of Roosevelt's victory was correct to within 0.5%, further solidifying the reputation of Roper's techniques.[3] In 1940, Roosevelt hired Roper to assess public opinion of Lend-Lease prior to its implementation.[1] In 1942 he was hired by William Joseph Donovan to be the deputy director of the Office of Strategic Services; Roper subsequently worked with the Office of War Information. After leaving the OWI he founded the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut in 1947.

Roper Opinion Research Company (the "Roper Poll") was later renamed Roper Starch Worldwide Company and eventually acquired by NOP World and then GfK in 2005.


His son, Bud Roper, was also a pollster.[4]


  1. ^ a b Elmo Roper Biography Archived 2009-10-07 at the Wayback Machine at the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
  2. ^ Survey Research in the United States: Roots and Emergence 1890-1960 By Jean M. Converse, p.113ff
  3. ^ Odds Favor Roosevelt for Fourth Term Should He Run, Elmo Roper Predicts - St. Petersburg Times, May 4, 1944
  4. ^ Pioneering pollster Burns Roper dead at 77, Associated Press, January 23, 2003, archived at Carnegie Mellon University.