Summary View help for Summary
The State of the First Amendment survey, conducted annually (since 1997, except for 1998) examines public attitudes toward freedom of speech, press, religion, and the rights of assembly and petition. Core questions, asked each year, include awareness of First Amendment freedoms, overall assessments of whether there is too much or too little freedom of speech, press, and religion in the United States, levels of tolerance for various types of public expression (such as flag-burning and singing songs with potentially offensive lyrics), levels of tolerance for various journalistic behaviors, attitudes toward prayer in schools, and level of support for amending the Constitution to prohibit flag-burning or defacement.
There were additional (non-core) questions asked for each year the survey was conducted. Each year, the additional questions asked about the following topics:
- 1997: how important various Constitutional rights are to people, whether people engaged in various kinds of public or political behaviors during the past year, and how free people feel to speak their minds in various settings
- 1999: attitudes toward alcohol and tobacco advertisements, levels of tolerance for sexually explicit content in various media, and attitudes toward television and Internet content ratings
- 2000: attitudes toward the role of government in political campaigns, the role of religion and the use of religious materials in classrooms, and attitudes toward government regulation of content on the Internet
- 2001: attitudes toward the creation of the federal Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and attitudes toward the regulation of political campaign contributions
- 2002: attitudes toward media coverage of the "war on terrorism," whether the government has the right to monitor the activities of religious groups even if it means infringing upon religious freedoms, and levels of support for public access to various types of local government records
- 2003: attitudes toward corporate ownership of news organizations, media coverage of the Iraq War and "the war on terrorism," whether the government has the right to monitor the activities of religious groups even if it means infringing upon religious freedoms, and whether controversial political remarks by entertainers affect the likelihood of attending performances or purchasing products featuring such entertainers
- 2004: the effort to amend the Constitution to ban flag-burning, proposals to expand regulation of so-called indecent material in the media, attempts by government officials and private advocates to lower the "wall of separation between church and state," and scandals involving made-up stories and facts at major news organizations
- 2005: attitudes toward religious freedom in the workplace, freedom of expression in the public schools, the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, the confidentiality of library records, and government's ability to restrict various types of content in public broadcasts
- 2006: whether the press should be allowed to publish works that criticize the actions of the government during wartime and whether political candidates should be allowed to criticize the actions of the government while campaigning during wartime
For each survey year, computer-aided telephone interviews (CATI) were conducted, and the number of respondents across the data files ranges from 1,000 to 1,025.
Citation View help for Citation
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Date of Collection View help for Date of Collection
Data Collection Notes View help for Data Collection Notes
For each year the data were collected, except 2005, the survey was conducted by the First Amendment Center at University of Connecticut's Center for Survey Research and Analysis. In 2005, the survey was conducted by the New England Survey Research Associates. Funding for the State of the First Amendment survey was provided by Freedom Forum for years 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2001. Funding for this survey was provided by Freedom Forum and American Journalism Review for years 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006. Funding for this survey was provided by the First Amendment Center and American Journalism Review for year 2005.
This data collection was previously distributed by the Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA). The CPANDA Identification Number (study number) for the data collection is c00014. The CPANDA Identification Number for the State of the First Amendment 1997 is a00011, for the State of the First Amendment 1999 is a00008, for the State of the First Amendment 2000 is a00009, for the State of the First Amendment 2001 is a00010, for the State of the First Amendment 2002 is a00053, for the State of the First Amendment 2003 is a00083, for the State of the First Amendment 2004 is a00201, for the State of the First Amendment 2005 is a00226, and for the State of the First Amendment 2006 is a00246. CPANDA conducted the following processing steps for release of this collection: produced a codebook, checked for undocumented codes, performed consistency checks, provided frequencies, performed recodes, and reformatted the data.
For additional information about the State of the First Amendment surveys, users should consult the First Amendment Center Web site.
Quick facts for this data collection, "How supportive are Americans of freedom of expression?" and "How supportive are Americans of freedom of expression on broadcast television?" are available from the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies (CACPS) at Princeton University.
To protect the anonymity of respondents, all variables that could be used to identify individuals have been masked or recoded. For details regarding these changes, please refer to the Codebook Notes provided in the ICPSR Codebook in this data collection.
Study Design View help for Study Design
The Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CSRA) at the University of Connecticut conducted telephone interviews between the years 1997 and 2006, excluding 1998 and 2005. In 2005, the New England Survey Research Associates conducted telephone interviews. In a CATI system, questionnaires are computerized, reducing the amount of human error in the survey process. The telephone interviews took place on weekday evenings, on Saturday mornings and afternoons, and on Sunday afternoons and evenings. This procedure prevented a bias in selecting people only at home at certain times.
For the State of the First Amendment 1997, a total of 1,025 telephone interviews was collected with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between July 17 and August 1, 1997. For the State of the First Amendment 1999, data was collected on a total of 1,001 telephone interviews with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between February 26 and March 24, 1999. For the State of the First Amendment 2000, a total of 1,015 interviews were conducted with a national scientific sample of adults 18 years of age or older, between April 13 and April 26, 2000. For the State of the First Amendment 2001, a total of 1,012 telephone interviews were conducted with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between May 16 and June 6, 2001. For the State of the First Amendment 2002, a total of 1,000 telephone interviews were conducted with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between June 12 and July 5, 2002. For the State of the First Amendment 2003, a total of 1,000 telephone interviews was conducted with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between June 3 and June 15, 2003. For the State of the First Amendment 2004, a total of 1,000 telephone interviews was conducted with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between May 6 and June 6, 2004. For the State of the First Amendment 2005, a total of 1,003 telephone interviews was conducted with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between May 13 and 23, 2005. For the State of the First Amendment 2006, a total of 1,000 telephone interviews was conducted with a random national sample of adults ages 18 and over, between October 25 and November 6, 2006.
Sample View help for Sample
The national sample used for each year of this research project included residential telephone numbers in the 48 contiguous states. The sample was stratified to insure that broad geographic regions were represented in proportion to their share of the total adult population in the United States. Within each of these regions, telephone numbers were generated through a random-digit-dial telephone methodology to ensure that each possible residential telephone number had an equal probability of selection. Telephone banks that contain no known residential telephone numbers were removed from the sample selection process. Once selected, each telephone number was contacted a minimum of four times to attempt to reach an eligible respondent. Households where a viable contact was made were called additional times. Within each household one adult was randomly selected to complete the interview. If a given telephone number did not result in an interview, for whatever reason, a substitution was made for it from within the same working block (which functioned as a single member "cluster"). This meant that one person's not being at home, for example, did not keep his or her cluster from coming into the survey.
Sampling error for a sample for each survey year, except 2004 and 2006, is plus or minus 3 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence. For the 2004 survey, the sampling error for the sample is plus or minus 3.1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence. For 2006, the sampling error for the sample is plus or minus 3.5 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.
Time Method View help for Time Method
Universe View help for Universe
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Mode of Data Collection View help for Mode of Data CollectionHide
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Version History View help for Version History
- First Amendment Center. State of the First Amendment [1997-2006]. ICPSR35592-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-05-26. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35592.v2
2016-05-26 Data Lead-in documentation was added to highlight subjects and variables related to arts and culture.
Weight View help for Weight
Data for the State of the First Amendment 1997 and the State of the First Amendment 2005 do not contain any weights.
Data for the State of the First Amendment 1999, the State of the First Amendment 2000, and the State of the First Amendment 2001 contain 5 weight variables: WGTAGE (Age weight), WGTEDUC (Education weight), WGTSEX (Sex weight), WGTCLASS (Weight class), and WEIGHT (Weight).
Data for the State of the First Amendment 2002 contain four weight variables: WGTAGE (Age weight), WGTEDUC (Education weight), WGTSEX (Sex weight), and WGTCLASS (Weight class).
Data for the State of the first Amendment 2003 contain one weight variable: WGHT (Imported Variable -- Sample Weight).
Data for the State of the First Amendment 2004 and the State of the First Amendment 2006 contain one weight variable: WEIGHT (Weight).Hide
The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.