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Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties Study, 1954 (ICPSR 7202)

Principal Investigator(s): Stouffer, Samuel A.


This study surveyed two different samples of respondents: a cross-section national sample and a leadership sample, the latter of which included people occupying leadership positions in their communities, such as president of the bar association, mayor, chairwoman of a women's club, president of a large labor union, president of a parent-teacher association, and the chairpersons of the Democratic and Republican party committees at county level. These positions were selected according to the following criteria: they were easily identifiable, were of some influence in the community, and held some relevance to the content of the study. Both samples were interviewed using the same questionnaire. The survey examined reactions of respondents to the danger of a communist conspiracy inside and outside the United States and to the potential sacrifice of civil liberties because of the attempt by some to thwart the conspiracy. The questionnaire began with open-ended questions tapping respondents' general expectations and fears, followed by questions about their opinions on communism. The subject of an internal or external communist threat was then raised in this context. In addition, variables probed respondents' positions on issues relating to tolerance, conformity, and civil liberties. Demographic data include age, sex, race, religious preference, education, employment status, and occupation.

Access Notes

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DS1:  Cross-Section - Download All Files (1.671 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   
DS2:  Leadership - Download All Files (0.909 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   

Study Description


Stouffer, Samuel A. COMMUNISM, CONFORMITY, AND CIVIL LIBERTIES STUDY, 1954. Conducted by American Institute of Public Opinion and National Opinion Research Center. 2nd ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 1974. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07202.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07202.v2

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    attitudes, civil rights, communism, communist threat, communities, community elites, ideologies, leadership, perceptions, tolerance, prejudice, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1954

Universe:    Part 1: United States adult population aged 21 and older. Part 2: Local community leaders in the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data


Sample:    Two separate samples were used in this study: a cross-section national sample, drawn by multistage probability methods, and a special sample of local community leaders. The leaders were chosen according to an arbitrary list of 14 leadership roles applied in each of the sample cities having a population between 10,000 and 150,000.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Extent of Processing:   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.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-06-20

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