ABC News/Washington Post Poll, August 1996 (ICPSR 2003)

Version Date: May 17, 2007 View help for published

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ABC News; The Washington Post


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This poll, conducted August 1996, is part of a continuing series of monthly surveys that solicit public opinion on a range of political and social issues. Views were gathered on the 1996 presidential and congressional elections, as well as on President Bill Clinton and his handling of the presidency, the economy, and foreign affairs. Respondents were polled on whether they were better or worse off financially compared to three years ago, whether it was more important to cut federal taxes or balance the federal budget, and whether they supported middle class tax cuts, even if it meant cutting spending on federal programs. Questions involving the upcoming presidential election polled respondents on the likelihood that they would vote, whom they would vote for (President Bill Clinton, Republican Bob Dole, or Reform Party candidate Ross Perot), whether each candidate had the qualities needed to be an effective president, the success of their political campaigns, and who the Republican vice-presidential candidate should be. Opinions were solicited on whether the presidential candidates had a vision for the future of the country, had high moral and ethical standards, cared about people like the respondent, had new ideas, and stood up for what they believed in, and which one would do a better job handling issues such as the economy, crime, the environment, and Medicare. Respondents were queried on whether they would vote for a Democratic or Republican candidate in the upcoming United States House of Representatives election, whether they approved of the way the United States Congress was doing its job, and whether Pat Buchanan should be allowed to make a speech at the Republican convention. Respondents were also asked which political party best represented their ideal of how the United States should be governed, whether the views of each party were too conservative or too liberal, whether respondents supported Ross Perot's new Reform Party, and whether the country needed a new political party. Views were also elicited on issues such as a federal balanced budget amendment, the death penalty, congressional term limits, gun control, organized prayer in public schools, a flat-tax system, recent changes to the welfare system, affirmative action, gay rights, and whether respondents would prefer a smaller government with fewer services or a larger government with many services. Several questions addressed whether abortion should be legal, whether the Republican vice-presidential candidate should support legal abortion, and whether the Republican platform should support a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Other topics addressed respondents' level of confidence in the United States government to prevent future terrorist attacks, how worried they were about the possibility of major terrorist attacks in the United States, and whether the government should mount a war against terrorism, even if it cost billions of dollars and intruded on personal freedoms. Background variables include sex, age, ethnicity, marital status, employment status, education, religion, household income, social class, subjective size of community, labor union membership, political orientation, political party affiliation, and voter registration and participation history.

ABC News, and The Washington Post. ABC News/Washington Post Poll, August 1996. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-05-17.

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This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited.


(1) Additional information about sampling, interviewing, weighting, and sampling error may be found in the codebook. (2) This collection has not been processed by ICPSR staff. ICPSR is distributing the data and documentation for this collection in essentially the same form in which they were received. When appropriate, documentation has been converted to Portable Document Format (PDF), data files have been converted to non-platform-specific formats, and variables have been recoded to ensure respondents' anonymity. (3) The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

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.

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


telephone interviews

survey data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • ABC News/The Washington Post. ABC NEWS/WASHINGTON POST POLL, AUGUST 1996. ICPSR version. Radnor, PA: Chilton Research Services [producer], 1996. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-05-17.

2007-05-17 SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files have been added to this data collection.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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