ABC News/Washington Post Monthly Poll, October 2008 (ICPSR 27326)

Published: Mar 15, 2010

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


Version V1

This poll, fielded October 8-11, 2008, 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. A national sample of 1,101 adults was surveyed, including oversamples of African Americans and 18- to 29-year-olds, for a total of 150 African American respondents and 201 respondents aged 18 to 29 years. Respondents were asked whether the Democratic or Republican party could be trusted to do a better job coping with the main problems the nation would face over the next few years. Respondents were asked whether they approved of the way George W. Bush was handling his job as president, whether things in the country were going in the right direction, and how concerned they were about the national economy. Views were sought on whether the Democratic or Republican party could be trusted to do a better job coping with the main problems the nation would face over the next few years. Respondents were also asked how closely they were following the 2008 presidential race, their opinions of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, for whom they would vote in the general election in November, which candidate had the best chance of getting elected, and how comfortable respondents would be with a president who was African American and a president over the age of 72. Economic topics addressed how concerned respondents were that they could maintain their current standard of living, the most difficult economic issue affecting their family, particularly personal finances, the stock market, and the ability to obtain bank loans. Demographic variables include sex, age, race, marital status, political party affiliation, voter registration status and participation history, political philosophy, education level, religious preference, military service, household income, type of residential area (e.g., urban or rural), and whether respondents considered themselves to be a born-again Christian.

ABC News, and The Washington Post. ABC News/Washington Post Monthly Poll, October 2008. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-03-15.

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2008-10-08 -- 2008-10-11

The data contain oversamples of African Americans and 18- to 29-year olds, as identified in the SAMPTYPE variable.

System-missing values were recoded to -1.

The variables PCTBLACK, PCTASIAN, PCTHISP, MSAFLAG, CSA, CBSA, METRODIV, NIELSMKT, BLOCKCNT, STATE, CONGDIST, and ZIP were converted from character variables to numeric, and periods in variable names were replaced with underscores in order to be compatible with current statistical software packages.

The CASEID variable was created for use with online analysis.

Several codes in the variable CBSA contain diacritical marks.

Value labels for unknown codes were added in variables MSA, CSA, CBSA, and METRODIV.

The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis.

To preserve respondent confidentiality, codes for the variables FIPS (FIPS County) and ZIP (ZIP Code) have been replaced with blank codes.

The data collection was produced by Taylor Nelson Sofres of Horsham, PA. Original reports using these data may be found via the ABC News Polling Unit Web site and via the Washington Post Opinion Surveys and Polls Web site.

Households were selected by random-digit dialing. Within households, the respondent selected was the youngest adult living in the household who was home at the time of the interview. Please refer to the codebook documentation for more information on sampling. This poll included an oversample of African American respondents and respondents aged 18 to 29 years.

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


survey data

computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)



2010-03-15 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:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data contain a weight variable (WEIGHT) that should be used in analyzing the data. The weights were derived using demographic information from the Census to adjust for sampling and nonsampling deviations from population values. Until 2008 ABC News used a cell-based weighting system in which respondents were classified into one of 48 or 32 cells (depending on sample size) based on their age, race, sex and education; weights were assigned so the proportion in each cell matched the Census Bureau's most recent Current Population Survey. To achieve greater consistency and reduce the chance of large weights, ABC News in 2007 tested and evaluated iterative weighting, commonly known as raking or rim weighting, in which the sample is weighted sequentially to Census targets one variable at a time, continuing until the optimum distribution across variables (again, age, race, sex and education) is achieved. ABC News adopted rim weighting in January 2008. Weights are capped at lows of 0.2 and highs of 6.The oversample of African Americans and 18- to 29-year-old respondents were weighed back to their correct share of the national population.


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

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