Washington Post/Harvard University/Kaiser Family Foundation Entitlement Poll, March 1997 (ICPSR 2178)

Published: Apr 16, 2008

Principal Investigator(s):
The Washington Post; Harvard University; Kaiser Family Foundation



Version V2

This special topic poll, fielded March 13-23, 1997, is part of a continuing series of monthly polls that solicit public opinion on the presidency and on a range of other political and social issues. The focus of this data collection was to assess respondents' views on Social Security, Medicare, entitlement programs, and retirement. Respondents were asked whether the country was moving in the right direction, and gave their opinion on the condition of the national economy. Respondents were asked to assess their knowledge of the Social Security program, including who is eligible to receive the benefits, what limits, if any, exist in the distribution of those benefits, the use of Social Security payroll taxes, the current state of the program, and the amount of benefits received by the average Social Security recipient. Similar questions were raised regarding Medicare, including the differences between it and Medicaid, the origin of Medicare funds, the extent of Medicare coverage, and the future of the Medicare trust fund. Respondents were asked about their retirement planning, such as their saving patterns, potential sources of income during their retirement, private pensions and 401K plans, and the amount of money that they felt was necessary to live as a retired person. Information was also collected on respondents' retirement status and their receipt of Medicare and Social Security benefits. Demographic variables include sex, age, race, ethnicity, education level, household income, political party affiliation, and political philosophy.

The Washington Post, Harvard University, and Kaiser Family Foundation. Washington Post/Harvard University/Kaiser Family Foundation Entitlement Poll, March 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-04-16. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02178.v2

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1997-03-13 -- 1997-03-23

(1) The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis. (2) The CASEID variable was created for use with online analysis. (3) To protect respondent confidentiality, respondent names were removed from the public use data file. (4) Value labels for unknown codes were added in RECODED_AGE, Q26, Q901, and Q908. (5) The original data file contained five records per case and was reformatted into a data file with one record per case.

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.


survey data

telephone interview



2008-04-16 SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files, and SAS and Stata supplemental files have been added to this data collection. Respondent names were removed from the data file and the CASEID variable was created for use with online analysis. Question text has been added to the codebook, and the data collection instrument has been taken out of the codebook and made into its own file. Harvard University and Kaiser Family Foundation have been added as principal investigators. Value labels for unknown codes were added in RECODED_AGE, Q26,and Q901.

1998-07-28 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 online analysis version with question text.

The data contain a weight variable (WEIGHT) that should be used in analyzing the data. This poll consists of "standard" national representative samples of the adult population with sample balancing of sex, race, age, and education.


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

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