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.
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.____________________