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American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1990 (ICPSR 9564)

Principal Investigator(s): Chicago Council on Foreign Relations


This data collection is the 1990 version of a quadrennial study designed to investigate the opinions and attitudes of the general public and of a select group of opinion leaders (or elites) on matters relating to foreign policy. The primary objectives of this study were to define the parameters of public opinion within which decision makers must operate and to compare the attitudes of the general public with those of opinion leaders. For the purposes of this study, "opinion leaders" are defined as those who are in positions of leadership in government, academia, business and labor, the media, religious institutions, special interest groups, and private foreign policy organizations. Both general public and elite respondents were questioned regarding the biggest problems/foreign policy problems facing the United States today, spending levels for various federal government programs, the role of Congress in determining foreign policy, the impact of foreign policy on things such as prices and unemployment, economic aid to other nations, military aid/selling military equipment to other nations, the role of the United States in world affairs, the Bush administration's handling of various problems, government reactions to situations in Kuwait, Panama, and China, the importance of various countries to America's vital interests, possible threats/adversaries to the United States in coming years, and the use of United States military troops in other parts of the world. Other topics covered include the relative importance of several foreign policy goals, United States relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Vietnam, NATO and keeping troops in western Europe, the military role of Japan and Germany, the economic unification of western Europe, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, policy options to reduce dependence on foreign oil, the illegal drug problem, free trade, and the respondent's political party affiliation and the strength of that affiliation. In addition, general populace respondents were asked to indicate their level of political activity, how closely they followed news about several current issues and events, and to rate various foreign countries and American and foreign leaders on a feeling thermometer scale. Demographic characteristics such as religious preference, marital status, employment status, household composition, education, age, Hispanic origin, race, sex, and income also were gathered for these respondents.

Series: American Public Opinion and United States Foreign Policy Series

Access Notes

  • One or more data files in this study are set up in a non-standard format, such as card image format. Users may need help converting these files before they can be used for analysis.

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DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Elite Data - Download All Files (0.885 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   
DS2:  General Population Data - Download All Files (1.582 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   

Study Description


Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1990. ICPSR09564-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-08-02. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09564.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09564.v1

Export Citation:

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


This study was funded by:

  • Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    Arab Israeli conflict, European unification, foreign affairs, foreign aid, foreign policy, international relations, leadership, military intervention, national economy, national elites, national interests, policy making, public approval, public opinion

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1990

Universe:    Part 1: Individuals in positions of leadership in the Bush administration, the House of Representatives, the Senate, business, labor, media, education, and religious organizations, special interest groups, and private foreign policy organizations, and Part 2: Civilian adults aged 18 and older, living in the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data contain blanks and nonnumeric codes. Part 2 contains a weight variable that should be used in any analysis. See ICPSR data collections 5808, 7748, 7786, 8130, and 8712 for similar collections from previous years.

The documentation provides no information for the first record of each case for Part1: Elite Data. ICPSR was not able to obtain any additional information from the data producer, the Gallup Organization.


Sample:    Part 1: Purposive sampling of selected opinion leaders designed to replicate samples used in previous years, and Part 2: Replicated national probability sample.

Data Source:

personal interviews and telephone interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1991-10-23

Version History:

  • 2007-08-02 SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files have been added to this data collection.
  • 2006-06-26 A processing note has been added to the codebook and metadata description indicating the lack of information for the first record of each case in Part 1: Elite Data.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 3 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.

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