ABC News/Washington Post Poll, August 2008 (ICPSR 27324)

Version Date: Dec 7, 2010 View help for published

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ABC News; The Washington Post


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This poll, fielded August 19-22, 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 1,298 adults was surveyed, including an oversample of African Americans. Information was collected on how closely respondents were following the 2008 presidential race, the chances that they would vote in the upcoming presidential election in November, and whether or not they voted in the presidential election in November of 2004. Respondents were also queried on which candidate they would vote for in the presidential election, and who they would like to see win the Democratic nomination. Respondents were asked whether they approved of the way George W. Bush was handling the presidency, whether they thought the country was headed in the right direction, and what was the single most important issue in their choice for president. Several questions asked respondents to compare Barack Obama and John McCain, and which candidate they trusted to handle issues such as the war in Iraq, energy policy, international affairs, the economy, and taxes. Respondents were queried on their level of enthusiasm for each presidential candidate, whether they thought Obama had the kind of experience it takes to serve effectively as president, and whether they thought McCain would lead the country in a new direction or mainly continue in Geroge W. Bush's direction. Respondents were also asked how comfortable they would be with McCain taking office at the age of 72 and Obama being the first African American President. Respondents were also asked how important they thought the Democratic and Republican national conventions would be in deciding how to vote for president in November. Respondents were queried on whether they thought it was possible for their child to grow up and become president, whether they thought that Obama's nomination for president represents progress for all African Americans or whether they thought it was only a single case that does not reflect broader progress for African Americans overall. Respondents were asked whether they thought Obama would serve as a leading role model to young African American men, whether Obama's nomination as the first African American presidential candidate made them more proud to me an American, whether they thought the war in Iraq was worth fighting, and whether the United States is making progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq. Lastly, respondents were asked whether they thought Russia was a close ally of the United States, how concerned they were that current tensions between the United States and Russia could lead to a new cold war, whether they thought abortion should be legal, and whether they would be more likely to vote for McCain if he picked a vice-presidential candidate who supports legal abortion. Demographic variables include sex, age, marital status, race, income, voter registration status, political ideology, political party affiliation, political philosophy, education level, religious preference, military status, and whether respondents considered themselves to be a born-again Christian.

ABC News, and The Washington Post. ABC News/Washington Post Poll, August 2008. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-12-07.

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2008-08-19 -- 2008-08-22
  1. The data available for download are not weighted and users will need to weight the data prior to analysis.

  2. The variables PCTBLACK, PCTASIAN, PCTHISP, MSAFLAG, CSA, CBSA, METRODIV, NIELSMKT, BLOCKCNT, ZIP, EXCTYPE, BILLCNTR, STATE2, CARRIER, and EXTYPE were converted from character variables to numeric.

  3. To preserve respondent confidentiality, codes for the variables FIPS (FIPS County), ZIP (ZIP Code), EXCTYPE (Exchange Type), BILLCNTR (Billing Center), STATE2 (Billing State), CARRIER (Wireless Carrier), and EXTYPE (Block Provides Shared Services) have been replaced with blank codes.

  4. System-missing values were recoded to -1.

  5. The CASEID variable was created for use with online analysis.

  6. The data collection was produced by Taylor Nelson Sofres of Horsham, PA. Original reports using these data may be found via the ABCNews 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 adult living in the household who last had a birthday and who was home at the time of the interview. This poll included an African American oversample. Please refer to the codebook documentation for more information on sampling.

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



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • ABC News, and The Washington Post. ABC News/Washington Post Poll, August 2008. ICPSR27324-v1. [distributor], 2010-12-07.

2010-12-07 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.
  • 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 American respondents was weighted back to their correct share of the national population.



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