Trends in Public Opinion: A Compendium of Survey Data

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

opposite direction to governmental confidence (4.8). For example, in 1974 when the percent with a great deal of confidence in the executive branch fell 16 percentage points, confidence in the press rose 3 percentage points. Likewise executive confidence gained 15 percentage points in 1977 while press confidence dropped 3 percentage points. Overall, the press lost ground in the 1970s to a low point in 1983, before staging a slight recovery.

Confidence in the scientific community and medicine has generally topped all other institutions (4.9). Confidence in the scientific community has fluctuated within a narrow range and shown no clear trend, except for a decline in the proportion saying "don't know." This may indicate greater interest in and perhaps even more knowledge about scientific matters. Confidence in medicine has remained high compared to other institutions, but did show some decline in the 1970s (4.10).

Confidence in education and its nemesis television both showed the general confidence decline of the 1970s and neither has come close to reobtaining levels of the early 1970s (4.11- 4.12). Education does, however, show some tentative signs of a rise in the late 1980s, while television remains near the bottom of the confidence scale with no clear evidence of revival.

Finally, confidence in organized religion has shown several large fluctuations that are difficult to interpret (4.13). It showed sharp drops in 1975 and 1978 and is the only institution to be at its historic low in 1988.


REFERENCES

Caldeira Gregory A. 1986. "Neither the Purse Nor the Sword: Dynamics of Public Confidence in the Supreme Court". American Political Science Review, 80:1209-1226.

Citrin Jack, Donald Green, and Beth Reingold. 1987. "The Soundness of Our Structure: Confidence in the Reagan Years". Public Opinion, 10:18-19.

Dunham Roger G., and Atmand L. Mauss. 1976. "Waves from Watergate: Evidence Concerning the Impact of the Watergate Scandal Upon Public Legitimacy and Social Control". Pacific Sociological Review, 19:469-490.

Lipset Seymour Martin, and William Schneider. 1983. The Confidence Gap: Business, Labor and Government in the Public Mind. New York: Free Press.

Miller Arthur. 1983. "Is Confidence Rebounding?" Public Opinion, 6:16-20.

Mueller John. 1973. War, Presidents and Public Opinion. New York: Wiley.

-95-

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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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