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American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1998 (ICPSR 2747)

Version Date: Mar 15, 2000 View help for published

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Chicago Council on Foreign Relations


Version V2

This study is part of a quadrennial series designed to investigate the opinions and attitudes of the general public and a select group of opinion leaders on matters relating to foreign policy, and to define the parameters of public opinion within which decision-makers must operate. Through telephone surveys, general public respondents (Part 2) were interviewed October 15-November 10, 1998, and opinion leaders (Part 1) were interviewed November 2-December 21, 1998. Respondents were asked to assess their level of interest in the news and specifically in foreign policy. Respondents were also asked whether concern for foreign policy is important in a presidential candidate, and their views were sought on the foreign policy records of President Bill Clinton and former presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, and Harry Truman. Those queried were asked for their opinions on economic aid to foreign nations, including Egypt, Poland, Russia, Israel, and African nations. In addition, respondents were asked to rate the Clinton administration on foreign policy, trade policy, immigration policy, United States relations with China, Japan, and Russia, international terrorism, the situation in the former Yugoslavia, the Arab-Israeli peace process, the situation in Iraq, nuclear proliferation, the situation in Northern Ireland, and the Asian financial crisis. Views were also sought on whether United States' vital interests were present in Egypt, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Israel, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Haiti, Bosnia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, China, France, the Baltic nations, South Korea, Poland, South Africa, Taiwan, Cuba, India, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. A series of questions addressed potential threats to those vital interests. Additional topics covered the foreign policy goals of the United States, bloodshed in the 21st century, measures to combat international terrorism, the United States' commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States' contributions to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and United States involvement in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Respondents were asked to rate their feelings toward Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, China, France, Taiwan, South Korea, Cuba, Argentina, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Italy, Russia, North Korea, Germany, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Israel, Iraq, India, Canada, and Brazil. Respondents were also asked for their opinions of President Bill Clinton, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Pope John Paul II, former President George Bush, former President Jimmy Carter, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, South African President Nelson Mandela, European Union President Jacques Santer, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat, French President Jacques Chirac, and Serbian President Slobodan Milosovic. Further queries focused on whether United States troops should be used if North Korea invaded South Korea, if Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia, if Arab forces invaded Israel, if Russia invaded Poland, if the Cuban people attempted to overthrow the Castro regime, if China invaded Taiwan, or if Serbian forces killed large numbers of ethnic Albanians. Respondents were asked whether they supported the use of economic sanctions against Cuba, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and China. Additional topics covered the elimination of tariffs, globalization, the establishment of a Palestinian state, the United States' role as a world leader, United States federal government program spending, and whether the United States should pay the $1.6 billion owed to the United Nations. Opinion leaders were asked an additional question about the possible threat of the "euro" (the unified monetary system to be implemented in January 1999 by the European Union) to the United States dollar's supremacy as a reserve currency. Background information on general public respondents includes age, race, sex, political party, political orientation, religion, marital status, spouse's employment status, age of children in household, amount of time spent at home, employment status, occupation, position in household, education, home ownership status, and household income. Background information on opinion leaders includes age, sex, education, political party, and political orientation.

Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1998. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000-03-15.

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Chicago Council on Foreign Relations
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
  1. Part 2, General Population Data, contains variables that have nonnumeric codes. The documentation specifies these codes as 'x' and 'y', but in the data they appear as '-' instead of 'x' and an ampersand in place of 'y'. This dataset also has variables with undefined codes and a weight variable (card 1, columns 13-15) that has two implied decimal places.

  2. Producer: Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ.


Part 1: Census of top-level decision makers defined by the universe. Part 2: National probability sample.

Part 1: Decision-makers in positions of leadership in government, academia, business, labor, the media, religious institutions, special interest groups, and private foreign policy organizations. Part 2: Persons 18 years of age and older.

personal 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:
  • Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1998. ICPSR02747-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000-03-15.

2000-03-15 SAS and SPSS data definition statements are now available for this data collection, and the number of variables is now accurately stated.

1999-11-02 The data in Part 1 have been recoded in accordance with standard practice for ensuring respondents' anonymity.



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  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. Please see version history for more details.
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