State of Disunion Survey, 1996

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > General Population > National > Other > Summary


The purpose of the 1996 Survey of American Political Culture was to assess the reality behind popular depictions of the declining legitimacy of American institutions and cultural fragmentation. Toward this end, a comprehensive questionnaire explores connections between political opinions and the cultural contexts within which they are formed. Topics include: the “Christian Right,” homosexuality, identity politics, visions of America's future, moral relativism, the role of government, political ideology, religious beliefs and activities, and a variety of lifestyle questions. What distinguishes this survey is its breadth and depth of coverage, both of which lend nuance to its findings. It was based upon over 2,000 face-to-face interviews and its summary report, The State of Disunion, is widely cited in publications and on the internet.

Data File
Cases: 2,047
Variables: 497
Weight Variable: WGHT, WGHT2, WGHTNEW, WGHTR1, WGHTR2R1, WGTR1NEW
Data Collection
Date Collected: January 27 through April 14, 1996
Funded By
The Parker Foundation
Collection Procedures
Face-to-face interviews
Sampling Procedures
Interviews were fielded for the IASC by the Gallup Organization, so the standard Gallup household sampling procedure was used. The sample is stratified by region and size of community.
Principal Investigators
James Davison Hunter, University of Virginia, Project Director
Carl Desportes Bowman, Bridgewater College, Director of Survey Research
Related Publications
Hunter, James Davison and Carl Desportes Bowman, The State of Disunion: 1996 Survey of American Political Culture. In Medias Res Educational Foundation.

State of Disunion survey web page: http://www.iasc-culture.org/publications_survey_state_of_disunion.php
Note 1
For the variables CNSLTHER, CNSLSCWK, CNSLCLGY, CNSLCHL, and CNSLELSE:

These dichotomous variables were coded from a categorically measured follow-up question to those who answered yes on the variable COUNSEL. The question is:

81. IF YES, who performed the counseling? (Indicate all that apply)
1) A therapist
2) A social worker
3) A member of the clergy
4) A school counselor
5) Someone else (specify)
Note 2
The variable, AUTHORTY, was originally a categorically measured variable coded from the question:

What, in your opinion, is the most believable authority in matters of truth ?
1) Your own personal experience
2) What you learn from television, newspapers and books
3) The teachings of scripture, for example, the Bible, the Torah
4) What science teaches us
5) What has been handed down from your parents or other authorities
6) What religious leaders say
7) Other (SPECIFY):

Unfortunately, no data set is available with the original variable. However, the principal investigator, Carl Bowman was able to supply a weighted distribution that was in a document from the Gallup Organization:
1. (personal experience) 1481 (43.1%)
2. (tv, newspapers, etc) 113 (3.3%)
3. (scripture) 948 (27.6%)
4. (science) 161 (4.7%)
5. (handed down) 639 (18.6%)
6. (religious leaders) 65 (1.9%)
7. (Other) 31 (0.9%)
8. (DK/REF) 171 (5.0%)