This study is provided by Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD).

National Politics Study, 2008 (ICPSR 36167)

Principal Investigator(s): Jackson, James S., University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research; Hutchings, Vincent, University of Michigan. Institute of Social Research; Wong, Cara, University of Michigan. Institute of Social Research; Brown, Ron, Wayne State University


The 2008 election offers a rare opportunity to analyze a significant event in American history - the election of the first African American president. Because the longitudinal panel series began in 2004, prior to the emergence of President Obama as a serious political candidate and nominee, the results from these surveys provide a rare vehicle for comparing data over time on important demographic, political, and, of particular interest given President Obama's racial background, racial and ethnic issues related to vote choice and political behavior. The wealth of data obtained from this survey will benefit scholars for many years to come.

This report provides a general overview of some of the key findings from the 2008 data collection. Topics covered include: demographic information of the population, work status, home ownership, political ideology, party identification, presidential choice, race relations, feeling thermometer data for a variety of political figures and relevant groups or organizations, and current events such as the Iraq War and same-sex marriage. Because differences among the racial and ethnic groups surveyed in this study are of political significance (Whites, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Caribbean Blacks), much of the data presented here is disaggregated by racial and ethnic group.

Access Notes

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Study Description


Jackson, James S., Vincent Hutchings, Cara Wong, and Ron Brown. National Politics Study, 2008. ICPSR36167-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-08-07. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36167.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36167.v1

Export Citation:

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


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Carnegie Corporation
  • University of Michigan. Office of the Vice-President for Research

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    Affirmative Action, African Americans, Asian Americans, Bush Administration (George W., 2001-2009), citizenship, demographic characteristics, economic conditions, education, employment, ethnic groups, ethnic tensions, gender issues, gender roles, government, government spending, Hispanic or Latino Americans, immigrants, income, job opportunities, life satisfaction, media influence, minorities, national identity, Obama, Barack, patriotism, police community relations, political affiliation, political interest, public approval, race relations, racial attitudes, racial discrimination, religious affiliation, same-sex marriage, voter preferences, voting behavior, White Americans

Smallest Geographic Unit:    United States

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2008-09-05--2008-12-15

Date of Collection:   

  • 2008-09-05--2008-12-15

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The National Politics Study, 2004 builds upon the work and methodologies used in the following studies: National Survey of American Life (NSAL) National Latino and Asian American Survey (NLAAS) National Black Election Panel Study, 1984 and 1988 (ICPSR 9954) National Black Politics Study, 1993 (ICPSR 2018) Latino National Political Survey, 1989-1990 (ICPSR 6841) National Asian American Political Survey, 2000-2001 The National Politics Study (NPS) was a project undertaken by the Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA) and the Center for Political Studies (CPS) at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, in cooperation with DataStat Inc., a survey research organization located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The NPS was developed under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation, the University of Michigan, and the Carnegie Corporation.


Study Purpose:    The primary goal of the National Politics Study (NPS) was to gather comparative data about individuals' political attitudes, beliefs, aspirations, and behaviors at the beginning of the 21st century. This study has important implications for understanding the nature of political concerns in the United States; policy, party, and candidate choices; and political participation in the American democratic process.

Sample:    From September 5, 2008 through December 15, 2008, a total of 1,477 respondents participated in the survey. The breakdown by racial and ethnic group is: 519 Non-Hispanic Whites, 329 African Americans, 444 Hispanics, 88 Asian Americans, and 97 Caribbean Blacks.

Weight:    The National Politics Study analysis weight ("wgtcent") was computed as the product of a non-response weight and a post-stratification weight, then centered such that the sum of the weights was equal to the total number of respondents in the dataset. The non-response component was computed as the inverse of the response rate (AAPOR response weight number 3), for each of the fourteen strata (sample frames) in the NPS. The post-stratification component was computed using 2008 American Community Survey one-year estimate data for gender, age (less than 45, greater than or equal 45), and race.

Mode of Data Collection:    telephone interview

Data Source:

The sample includes a combination of panel respondents surveyed for the 2004 and 2006 data collections (n=663) as well as new respondents found using a random digit dial methodology (n=814). Eight hundred eight respondents were interviewed before the election and 669 after the election.

Response Rates:    The response rate for the data collection was 41 percent - similar to other studies targeting significant numbers of minority respondents.

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:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.


Original ICPSR Release:   2015-08-07

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