Trends in Public Opinion: A Compendium of Survey Data

By Richard G. Niemi; John Mueller et al. | Go to book overview

the mid- 1970s. Both on the general question about "doing things that should be left to individuals" (1.18) and on three of the specific items (1.20-1.22), there was a decline in support for more governmental action. Similarly, there was increased concern that the government was getting too powerful (1.19), at least until President Reagan entered office. These changes are consistent with the view of the 1960s and 1970s as a time of expanding scope of government and of the 1980s as one of more self-reliance and contraction of government. The opposite is true, however, for the items about doctor and hospital bills (1.23). Rising medical costs and perhaps an aging population have led to a desire for governmental action in this one domain.

The final series in this chapter is the fifty-year history of responses to question about the nation's most important problems.5 The specific questions have varied over the years--alternatively referring to "the government," "the U.S. government," "the government in Washington," "this country," and "the American people." These changes notwithstanding, the responses reflect our international involvement in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, numerous ups and downs of the economy, the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, and such specific events as Watergate and the oil crisis of 1973-1974. As such, it is an indelible record--unlike any other--of the concerns of the general population over a half century of history.


REFERENCES

Andersen Kristi. 1979. The Creation of a Democratic Majority, 1928- 1936. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Borrelli Stephen, Brad Lockerbie, and Richard G. Niemi. 1987. "Why the Democrat-Republican Partisanship Gap Varies from Poll to Poll". Public Opinion Quarterly, 51:115-119.

Converse Philip E. 1966. "On the Possibility of Major Political Realignment in the South". In Angus Campbell, Philip E. Converse , Warren E. Miller, and Donald E. Stokes. Elections and the Political Order. New York: Wiley.

Converse Philip E. 1976. The Dynamics of Party Support. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Craig Stephen C. 1985. "Partisanship, Independence, and No Preference: Another Look at the Measurement of Party Identification". American Political Science Review, 29: 274-290.

____________________
5
Table 1.24 updates Part I of Smith ( 1985). See also Part II on regional, community, and personal problems.

-14-

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Trends in Public Opinion: A Compendium of Survey Data
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables vii
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction 1
  • References 10
  • 1 - Politics 11
  • References 14
  • 2 - International Affairs 49
  • REPERENCES 51
  • 3 - Taxation and Spending 73
  • References 75
  • 4 - Confidence in Institutions 93
  • References 95
  • 5 - Political Tolerance 107
  • References 109
  • 6 - Crime and Violence 131
  • References 133
  • 7 - Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs 153
  • References 155
  • 8 - Race Relations 167
  • 9 - Sexual and Reproductive Morality 187
  • References 189
  • 10 - Death and Dying 215
  • References 216
  • 11 - Role of Women 223
  • References 224
  • 12 - Work 235
  • References 237
  • 13 - Religion 251
  • References 252
  • 14 - Family 265
  • 15 - Psychological Well-Being/Group Membership 287
  • References 288
  • Index of GSS Mnemonics 317
  • Index 321
  • About the Authors 327
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