ABOUT THE DATASET:
Most of the 1960 respondents were interviewed previously in 1956 and/or 1958. Those new to the sample were selected from dwelling units vacated by 1958 respondents.
Attention to presidential debates.Number of Cases: 1181
Number of Variables: 336
Weight Variable: V600003
STUDY CONTENT HIGHLIGHTS:
The long-term influences on the respondent's electoral behavior which were explored in the pre-election interview included a number of factors important to political socialization, such as the respondent's education, occupation, financial situation, life cycle status, geographic and social mobility, and military service. The direction and intensity of the respondent's party identification and the reasons for any past changes in this identification were also the subject of questions designed to tap these long-term influences on behavior. In order to determine the nature of the short-term forces which might influence voting behavior, respondents in the pre-election interview were asked their opinions on political issues which were important in 1960, such as civil rights, domestic spending for social services, and foreign aid. Questions about agricultural matters and labor concerns were asked of farmers and labor union members, respectively. The respondent's perceptions and evaluations of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates and the two major parties were obtained. In addition, questions designed to reveal changes in the respondent's attitudes toward the candidates and parties were included.
The survey instrument contained a series of questions used to measure the respondent's sense of political efficacy and citizen duty. Also included was a series of items designed to measure the extent to which the respondent would trust certain groups to endorse an acceptable candidate for office. Finally, the pre-election interview asked the respondent to predict the 1960 presidential election outcome, to predict his likelihood of voting, to identify the candidate for whom he would vote, and to give the reason for that electoral preference.
The post-election interview was primarily concerned with the respondent's vote and the party-, candidate-, and issue-oriented reasons for that vote. The respondent's interest in the election and his/her exposure to the media were explored. In particular, respondents were asked questions about their participation in political activities and about their reactions to the televised Kennedy-Nixon debates. In order to assess the effect of Kennedy's religion on electoral choice, a series of questions about the respondent's religious preferences and background were included. Finally, the post-election questionnaire included a series of questions designed to measure the respondent's sense of personal competence.
STUDY DESIGN HIGHLIGHTS: