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Community Political Systems Study, 1962 (ICPSR 7092)

Principal Investigator(s): Alford, Robert R.; Scoble, Harry M.


This study surveyed leaders and nonleaders in four central cities of independent metropolitan areas of Wisconsin: Madison, Kenosha, Racine, and Green Bay. The interviews were conducted immediately following the April 1962 local elections. A total of 1,364 nonleaders were interviewed: 458 from Racine, 330 from Kenosha, 305 from Green Bay, and 271 from Madison. The numbers of leaders interviewed were 135 in Racine, 120 in Kenosha, 110 in Green Bay, and 124 in Madison. The leaders sample included both formal and informal leaders. Approximately 30 informal leaders were identified and interviewed in each city. Questions covered the respondents' feelings about their communities, length of residence, sources of information about local politics (newspapers, magazines, newscasts), ability to identify local officials, and activism in local politics. The respondents were also asked to identify major problems facing their communities and to assess which groups or individuals were working to solve these problems and which ones were blocking efforts at a solution. Several questions solicited the respondents' evaluations of their local school systems. Respondents were asked which local services they would cut if a budget reduction were necessary and which ones they would like to see improved. Other questions covered the respondents' sense of alienation, efficacy, and civic duty. With respect to state and national politics, respondents were asked to rank national leaders and to indicate whether they voted in state and national elections and for whom they voted. Several variables measured the respondents' economic orientation, international orientation, tolerance, racial attitudes, authoritarianism, and pro-McCarthyism. The respondents were also questioned about party identification and whether this had changed. Information was collected on the respondents' marital status, number of children, age, education, religion, occupation, income, property ownership, race, and the place of birth of parents and grandparents. In addition, the respondent was asked about social contacts, both with people and with organizations.

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Study Description


Alford, Robert R., and Harry M. Scoble. Community Political Systems Study, 1962. ICPSR07092-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1974. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07092.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07092.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    alienation, communities, community decision making, community leaders, community organizations, community participation, community problems, elections, interpersonal communication, local politics, party membership, political activism, political awareness, political interest, public officials, schools, social networks

Geographic Coverage:    Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Racine, United States, Wisconsin

Time Period:   

  • 1962

Universe:    Leaders and nonleaders in Madison, Kenosha, Racine, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data for leaders and nonleaders are merged into one file. A filter variable is located in deck 8, column 80, that should be used to select either the leaders or the nonleaders sample for any of the four cities.


Sample:    The nonleaders sample was derived from a strict area probability sampling of households, and was restricted to the potential electorate. The leaders sample included formal and informal leaders. Formal leaders were defined as: (1) mayors, other city officials, aldermen, school superintendents, and school board members, (2) political party county chairmen and precinct committeemen, and (3) formal heads of nongovernmental organizations. Also identified and interviewed were approximately 30 informal leaders in each city.

Data Source:

personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-03-18

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