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ABC News/Washington Post Poll, December 2008 (ICPSR 27329)

Principal Investigator(s): ABC News; The Washington Post


This poll, fielded December 11-14, 2008, is part of a continuing series of monthly surveys that solicit public opinion on the presidency and on a range of other political and social issues. A national sample of 1,003 adults was surveyed. Respondents were asked whether they thought the country was headed in the right direction, whether they approved of the way George W. Bush was handling the presidency and the economy, and whether they approved of the federal government's overall response to the economic situation. Respondents were asked whether they approved of the way Barack Obama was handling the upcoming presidential transition and what they thought was the most important issue they would like to see recently elected President Obama and the Congress deal with. Respondents were also asked several questions about the economy, the federal budget deficit, and the federal government's plan to stimulate the economy. Views were sought on the United States economic system, whether respondents thought the United States was in a long-term economic decline or whether they thought the economy was pretty solid. Respondents were also asked which party they trusted more to do a better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years, and whether they thought the current financial situation was a crisis or not. Several questions asked respondents about the federal government's plan to bailout the Big Three United States automakers, whether they supported this plan, and whether they thought the automakers' problems were mainly the fault of the bad economy or the fault of their own mismanagement. Respondents were queried on how concerned they were about being able to maintain their current standard of living, how much they would spend on Christmas presents this year compared to last year, and how confident they were that they will be able to retire with enough income to last the rest of their life. Respondents were also asked several questions about their employment, whether they have been laid off or fired, whether they have had pay cuts or hours cut, and how likely they thought they would be laid off or fired in the next 12 months. Other questions focused on whether respondents thought the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan were worth fighting, whether significant progress was being made toward restoring civil order, and whether they thought the United States must win the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan for the war on terrorism to be a success. Finally, respondents were asked whether they voted in the presidential election and who they voted for. Demographic variables include sex, age, race, income, political ideology, political party affiliation, education level, and labor union membership.

Series: ABC News/Washington Post Poll Series

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


ABC News/Washington Post Poll, December 2008 - Download All Files (4.229 MB)
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Study Description


ABC News, and The Washington Post. ABC News/Washington Post Poll, December 2008. ICPSR27329-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-11-09. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR27329.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR27329.v2

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    Afghanistan War, attitudes, automobile industry, Bush Administration (George W., 2001-2009), Bush, George W., Democratic Party (USA), employment, federal budget deficit, federal government, Iraq War, McCain, John, national economy, Obama, Barack, personal finances, presidential candidates, presidential elections, presidential performance, public opinion, recession, Republican Party (USA), standard of living, United States Congress, voter attitudes, voting behavior

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2008-12

Date of Collection:   

  • 2008-12-11--2008-12-14

Unit of Observation:    individual

Universe:    Persons aged 18 and over living in households with telephones in the contiguous 48 United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis.

The variables PCTBLACK, PCTASIAN, PCTHISP, MSAFLAG, CSA, CBSA, METRODIV, NIELSMKT, BLOCKCNT, and ZIP were converted from character variables to numeric.

To preserve respondent confidentiality, codes for the variables FIPS (FIPS County) and ZIP (ZIP Code) have been replaced with blank codes.

System-missing values were recoded to -1.

The CASEID variable was created for use with online analysis.

Value labels for unknown codes were added in variables MSA, CSA, CBSA, and METRODIV.

The data collection was produced by Taylor Nelson Sofres of Horsham, PA. Original reports using these data may be found via the ABC News Polling Unit Web site and via the Washington Post Opinion Surveys and Polls Web site.


Sample:    Households were selected by random-digit dialing. Within households, the respondent selected was the adult living in the household who last had a birthday and who was home at the time of the interview. Please refer to the codebook documentation for more information on sampling.

Weight:    The data contain a weight variable (WEIGHT) that should be used in analyzing the data. The weights were derived using demographic information from the Census to adjust for sampling and nonsampling deviations from population values. Until 2008 ABC News used a cell-based weighting system in which respondents were classified into one of 48 or 32 cells (depending on sample size) based on their age, race, sex, and education; weights were assigned so the proportion in each cell matched the Census Bureau's most recent Current Population Survey. To achieve greater consistency and reduce the chance of large weights, ABC News in 2007 tested and evaluated iterative weighting, commonly known as raking or rim weighting, in which the sample is weighted sequentially to Census targets one variable at a time, continuing until the optimum distribution across variables (again, age, race, sex, and education) is achieved. ABC News adopted rim weighting in January 2008. Weights are capped at lows of 0.2 and highs of 6.

Mode of Data Collection:    computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2010-04-29

Version History:

  • 2010-11-09 Updated ready to go, setup files (SPSS, Stata, and SAS), and codebook.



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