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ABC News/Washington Post Poll, February 1986 (ICPSR 8574)

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


This poll, conducted February 6-12, 1986, 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. Views were sought on the way Ronald Reagan was handling the presidency and issues such as foreign affairs, the condition of the national economy, the role of the federal government, proposals for reducing the federal budget deficit, including cutting specific government programs and increasing taxes, and whether the United States should help try to overthrow pro-communist governments. Respondents were asked whether they had seen or heard President Reagan's State of the Union speech, for whom they would vote in the 1988 presidential primary or caucus in their state, and whether they would vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate in their district in the congressional elections in November. Opinions were sought on the women's movement, including whether women would be better off staying at home raising families or having careers, whether women with children were less reliable workers, and whether it was realistic for women to expect to have a successful career, a good marriage, and a stable home life at the same time. A series of questions addressed respondents' knowledge of the Soviet Union and their impressions of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet people, and relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Additional topics included abortion, forced school busing for racial integration, pornography, censorship, daycare arrangements, the space program, and whether the space shuttle program should continue following the recent space shuttle Challenger disaster. Demographic variables include sex, age, race, marital status, education level, household income, political philosophy, political party affiliation, voter registration status and participation history, religion in which respondents were raised, perceived social class, type of residential area (e.g., urban or rural), employment status of respondents and their spouses, the number of people living in the household, and whether anyone in the household was a veteran, a member of a labor union, or employed by the government.

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.


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Study Description


ABC News, and The Washington Post. ABC News/Washington Post Poll, February 1986. ICPSR08574-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-05-06. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08574.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08574.v2

Export Citation:

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    abortion, attitudes, budget cuts, censorship, communism, congressional elections, federal budget deficit, feminism, foreign policy, Gorbachev, Mikhail, government programs, government spending, national debt, national economy, nuclear weapons, pornography, presidency, presidential elections, presidential performance, public opinion, racial integration, Reagan Administration (1981-1989), Reagan, Ronald, school busing, space exploration, tax reform, womens movement, working mothers

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1986-02

Date of Collection:   

  • 1986-02-06--1986-02-12

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.

This data collection was produced by Chilton Research Services, Radnor, PA.


Sample:    Households were selected using random digit dialing. Within households, respondents were selected using a method developed by Leslie Kish and modified by Charles Backstrom and Gerald Hursh (see Backstrom and Hursh, SURVEY RESEARCH, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1963).

Weight:    The data contain a weight variable (WEIGHT) that should be used for analysis.

Mode of Data Collection:    telephone interview

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.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1988-06-01

Version History:

  • 2010-05-06 Corrected the data file and updated the study with the full product suite including question text.

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