Citizens’ beliefs about uncertain events are fundamental variables in many areas of political science. While beliefs are often conceptualized in the form of distributions, obtaining reliable measures in terms of full probability densities is a difficult task. In this letter we ask whether there is an effective way to elicit beliefs as distributions in the context of (online) surveys? Relying on experimental evidence, we evaluate the performance of five different elicitation methods designed to capture citizens’ uncertain expectations. Our results suggest that an elicitation method originally proposed by Manski (2009) performs well. It reliably measures the subjective belief distribution of average citizens and is easily implemented in the context of regular (online) surveys. We expect that a wider use of this method will lead to considerable improvements in the study of citizens’ expectations and beliefs.