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American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy: General Public, 1978 (ICPSR 7748)

Principal Investigator(s): Chicago Council on Foreign Relations


These data were gathered in personal interviews with a national sample of United States citizens by the Gallup Organization, Inc., to measure attitudes toward foreign affairs in November 1978. Respondents were asked to list the biggest problems facing the country, in general, as well as the biggest foreign policy problems. Other questions explored the relationship between domestic and foreign policy priorities, e.g., aid to education, defense spending, farm subsidies, economic and military aid to other nations, and domestic welfare/reliefprograms. Respondents gave their opinions of what constituted appropriate responses to the growing military power of the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), and they rated the threat that communism presented in several other countries. Respondents were asked to respond favorably or unfavorably to several scenarios in which the use of United States armed forces in other parts of the world could be justified. Respondents were asked to rate the performance of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and to use a "thermometer" scale to measure their feelings (warm or cold) toward several politicians and world leaders, as well as toward several countries that were important to the United States for political, economic, or security reasons. Opinions were sought about the type of role that various individuals and institutions (e.g., the president, the CIA, the military, the United Nations, and the Congress) should play in the creation of foreign policy. Respondents' political participation was also measured. Demographic information includes age, race, sex, income, sources of information in the media, religion, educational level, occupation, and political orientation. In a similar survey conducted from November 1978 to January 1979, many of the same questions were asked of Americans in senior positions with knowledge of and influence on foreign policy. The results of that survey are collected in AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: NATIONAL LEADERS, 1979 (ICPSR 7786).

Series: American Public Opinion and United States Foreign Policy Series

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Study Description


Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy: General Public, 1978. ICPSR07748-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07748.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07748.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    arms race, citizen attitudes, Cold War, communist threat, diplomacy, domestic policy, foreign affairs, foreign aid, foreign policy, international relations, leadership, military intervention, national elites, national interests, national security, policy making, political attitudes, political participation, public approval, public opinion

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1978

Date of Collection:   

  • 1978-11-17--1978-11-26

Universe:    Adults aged 18 and older in the civilian noninstitutional population of the contiguous United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Producer: Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ.


Sample:    Stratified systematic national sample.

Data Source:

personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-06-20

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