ABC News Listening to America Poll, May 1996 (ICPSR 6820)

Published: Oct 29, 2009

Principal Investigator(s):
ABC News


Version V2

This special topic poll, conducted April 30 to May 6, 1996, 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. This poll sought Americans' views on the most important problems facing the United States, their local communities and their own families. Respondents rated the public schools, crime, and drug problems at the national and local levels, their level of optimism about their own future and that of the country, and the reasons they felt that way. Respondents were asked whether they were better off financially than their parents were at their age, whether they expected their own children to be better off financially than they were, and whether the American Dream was still possible for most people. Respondents then compared their expectations about life to their actual experiences in areas such as job security, financial earnings, employment benefits, job opportunities, health care benefits, retirement savings, and leisure time. A series of questions asked whether the United States was in a long-term economic and moral decline, whether the country's main problems were caused more by a lack of economic opportunity or a lack of morality, and whether the United States was still the best country in the world. Additional topics covered immigration policy and the extent to which respondents trusted the federal, state, and local governments. Demographic variables included respondents' sex, age, race, education level, marital status, household income, political party affiliation, political philosophy, voter registration and participation history, labor union membership, the presence of children in the household, whether these children attended a public school, and the employment status of respondents and their spouses.

ABC News. ABC News Listening to America Poll, May 1996. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-10-29.

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1996-04-30 -- 1996-05-06

The CASEID variable was created for use with online analysis.

The original data file contained four records per case and was reformatted into a data file with one record per case. To protect respondent confidentiality, respondent names were removed from the data file.

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

According to the data collection instrument, code 3 in the variable Q909 (Education Level) included respondents who answered that they had attended a technical school.

The data collection was produced by Chilton Research Services of Radnor, PA. Original reports using these data may be found via the ABC News Polling Unit Website.

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 at home at the time of interview.

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


survey data



2009-10-29 First names were removed from the data file. A full product suite including online analysis with question text has been added. The location of the weight variable was also corrected.

1998-05-20 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.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

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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