CBS News/New York Times Clarence Thomas Nomination Poll, September-October 1991 (ICPSR 9781)

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CBS News; The New York Times


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This data collection consists of a series of surveys focused primarily on issues related to the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, both before and after charges of sexual harassment were brought against Thomas by former aide Anita Hill. The September 3-5 Poll included queries regarding the respondent's opinion of Clarence Thomas, such as whether the Senate should vote to confirm Thomas, whether the Supreme Court would become more liberal or conservative if Thomas's appointment was confirmed by the Senate, and whether Bush nominated Thomas because he is Black. Additional questions included whether Thomas's decisions as a Supreme Court justice would be impacted because he is Black, whether Thomas was "turning his back on his own people" by not taking a liberal position on affirmative action, and whether his opposition to most forms of affirmative action made respondents feel more or less favorable toward him. Questions concerning the confirmation of Supreme Court nominees included whether the Senate should consider how a nominee might vote on major issues, whether a nominee's personal history and character should be considered, and whether endorsements by groups such as the NAACP or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce should be considered. Other topics covered in the September 3-5 Poll included the Bush presidency, job discrimination against Blacks and women, welfare, and abortion. The October 9 Panel Survey focused on issues relative to the charges of sexual harassment brought against Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill, including whether the respondent thought the charges were true, whether the Senate treated the charges as seriously as they should have when the charges were first made, if the presence of more women in the Senate would have caused the Senate to consider the charges more seriously, whether Thomas should be confirmed if the charges are true, and whether it was proper for the Senate to delay its vote on Thomas' confirmation in order to hear more testimony regarding the charges. Additionally, female respondents were asked if they had ever experienced sexual harassment on the job and male respondents were asked if their behavior at the workplace had ever been interpreted as sexual harassment by a female co-worker. Respondents were also asked whether sexual harassment could include unwanted sexual conversations without physical contact. The October 13 Panel Survey posed new questions, including the respondent's opinion of Anita Hill, if the respondent watched the live broadcast of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings and whose testimony they watched more, whether Hill and Thomas had been treated fairly in the hearings, whether Thomas and Hill had told the entire truth in their testimonies, and whether the respondent believed Hill or Thomas more. Additional questions focused on whether the Senate Judiciary Committee had been tougher or easier on Thomas because he is Black, whether the questions and testimony had been appropriate for a public hearing, whether Thomas should take a lie detector test because Anita Hill had done so, and if any good came from having the hearings. The October 14 Panel Survey addressed new questions, including whether Thomas should be confirmed if there is doubt about whether the charges are true, whether the Senate Judiciary Committee made progress in clearing up the charges, and if women would be more or less willing to report incidents of sexual harassment as a result of the hearings.

CBS News, and The New York Times. CBS News/New York Times Clarence Thomas Nomination Poll, September-October 1991. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-06-02.

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Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1991-09 -- 1991-10
1991-09 -- 1991-10
  1. A weight variable has been included that must be used in any analysis. Telephone exchanges have been recoded to "999" and names of respondents have been recoded to blanks for reasons of confidentiality.


A variation of random-digit dialing using primary sampling units (PSUs) was employed, consisting of blocks of 100 telephone numbers identical through the eighth digit and stratified by geographic region, area code, and size of place. Within households, respondents were selected using a method developed by Leslie Kish and modified by Charles Backstrom and Gerald Hursh (see Backstrom and Hursh, SURVEY RESEARCH [Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1963]).

Adult population of the United States aged 18 and over, having telephones at home.

telephone interviews



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:
  • CBS News, and The New York Times. CBS News/New York Times Clarence Thomas Nomination Poll, September-October 1991. ICPSR09781-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-06-02.

2009-06-02 SAS, SPSS, and Stata setups have been added to this data collection.

1992-10-31 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.