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American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2002 (ICPSR 3673)

Principal Investigator(s): Chicago Council on Foreign Relations; German Marshall Fund of the United States


This study is part of a quadrennial series designed to investigate the opinions and attitudes of the general public and a select group of opinion leaders on matters related to foreign policy, and to define the parameters of public opinion within which decision-makers must operate. Respondents were asked for their opinions regarding the level of funding for federal programs such as aid to education, defense spending, military aid to other countries, gathering intelligence about other countries, homeland security, and the amount of the federal budget that does or should go toward foreign aid, as well as European government funding for defense spending and economic aid to other countries. Respondents were also queried regarding their support for or opposition to economic aid and the types of economic aid the United States gives to countries such as Egypt, Israel, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and African countries. Questions covered United States troop involvement throughout the world, the need for long-term military bases overseas, and the role that Japan and the European Union play as world leaders. The topic of critical threats to the United States was also queried, including the threat from the military power of Russia, economic competition from Japan, Europe, and low-wage countries, the development of China as a world power, Islamic fundamentalism, countries with nuclear capabilities, terrorism and the use of chemical or biological weapons, and conflicts in other parts of the world. Those surveyed were also asked about events that they thought would justify sending United States troops to other parts of the world, including invading Iraq and overthrowing the government of Saddam Hussein. Additional questions on the topic of United States military involvement included combating international terrorism through the use of such measures as air strikes, using ground troops, and assassination of terrorist leaders. Questions sought respondent opinions on possible U.S. foreign policy goals including the protection of weaker nations and helping to improve their standard of living, promoting and defending human rights, combating world hunger, improving the global environment, strengthening the United Nations, reducing the trade deficit, protecting American business interests and promoting market economies abroad, and controlling and reducing illegal immigration and stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. Opinions were also gathered on the United States' participation in treaties to reduce global warming, ban land mines, prohibit nuclear weapon tests, and establish an International Court to try individuals on war crimes. Additional topics were presented only to the general population sample. Respondents' level of interest in the actions of the government was assessed by asking about their level of political activism, whether they had ever written to a public official, and whether they knew who or which party held particular offices. Opinion on the United States military and its role was assessed through questions regarding the sale of military equipment to foreign countries, whether the United States should have military bases overseas, and whether United States troops should get involved in international conflicts. Respondents were also queried on the topics of globalization, trade, and the use of tariffs, as well as internationalism and the role of NATO and the European Union. Those surveyed were asked to rate their feelings toward countries such as Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, China, France, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Brazil among others. Respondents were also asked to similarly rate American and foreign leaders, such as former President Bill Clinton, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Pope John Paul II, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Palestinian Leader Yasir Arafat, and French President Jacques Chirac, as well as institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the European Union, and the World Court. Background information on general public respondents includes age, race, sex, political party, political orientation, political involvement, religion, marital status, spouse's employment status, age of children in household, amount of time spent at home, employment status, occupation, position in household, education, home ownership status, and household income. Background information on opinion leaders includes age, sex, education, political party, and political orientation.

Series: American Public Opinion and United States Foreign Policy 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.


DS1:  Opinion Leader Data - Download All Files (2.026 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   
DS2:  General Population Data - Download All Files (30.373 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   

Study Description


Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, and German Marshall Fund of the United States. American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2002. ICPSR03673-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2004. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03673.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03673.v1

Export Citation:

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


This study was funded by:

  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    Annan, Kofi, Arab Israeli conflict, Arafat, Yasir, Chirac, Jacques, economic sanctions, foreign affairs, foreign aid, foreign policy, Hussein, Saddam, immigration policy, international relations, leadership, military intervention, national elites, national interests, peace keeping missions, policy making, Pope John Paul II, Powell, Colin, public approval, public opinion, Putin, Vladimir, Schroeder, Gerhard, September 11 attack, Sharon, Ariel, terrorism, trade policy, Zemin, Jiang

Smallest Geographic Unit:    United States

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2002

Date of Collection:   

  • 2002-06-01--2002-06-30

Unit of Observation:    individuals

Universe:    Part 1: Decision-makers in positions of leadership in government, academia, business, labor, the media, religious institutions, special interest groups, and private foreign policy organizations. Part 2: Persons aged 18 years and over living in the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data


Sample:    Part 1: Census of top-level decision-makers defined by the universe. Part 2: National probability sample.

Data Source:

telephone interviews and personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   2004-04-07

Version History:

  • 2005-12-15 On 2005-08-15 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-12-15 to reflect these additions.

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