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Religion and Public Life Survey, 2004




This survey investigates respondents' opinions concerning a variety of recent issues covered by news media, such as anticipated votes in the 2004 presidential election, foreign policy attitudes, and especially the personal attributes and actions of John Kerry and President George W. Bush. The survey also asks the extent to which respondents have followed recent topics in news media, including, but not limited to: Iraq, terrorism, the Democratic convention, the price of gasoline, the "code orange" alert, abortion, the federal budget deficit, energy, health care, stem cell research, education, the environment, respect for America, and the 9-11 Commission.

The Religion and Public Life Survey, 2004, sponsored by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (PRC), obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,512 adults living in continental United States telephone households. The interviews were conducted in English by Princeton Data Source, LLC from August 5 to August 10, 2004. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is +/- 3%. Details on the design, execution and analysis of the survey are discussed below. Note: This file was previously listed on the ARDA as the News Interest Index, August 2004.

The ARDA has added six additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 1512
Variables: 155
Weight Variable: WEIGHT

(All quotations taken from: Methodology provided by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2004).

Data Collection

August 5 - 10, 2004.

Funded By

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

Collection Procedures

Interviews were conducted from August 5 to August 10, 2004. As many as 10 attempts were made to contact every sampled telephone number. The sample was released for interviewing in replicates, which are representative subsamples of the larger sample. Using replicates to control the release of the sample ensures that complete call procedures are followed for the entire sample.

Calls were staggered over times of day and days of the week to maximize the chance of making contact with potential respondents. Each household received at least one daytime call in an attempt to find someone at home. In each contacted household, interviewers asked to speak with the youngest adult male currently at home. If no male was available, interviewers asked to speak with the oldest female at home. This systematic respondent selection technique has been shown to produce samples that closely mirror the population in terms of age and gender.

Sampling Procedures

The sample was designed to represent all continental U.S. telephone households. The telephone sample was provided by Survey Sampling International, LLC (SSI) according to PSRAI (Princeton Survey Research Associates International) specifications. The sample was drawn using standard list-assisted random digit dialing (RDD) methodology. Active blocks of telephone numbers (area code + exchange + two-digit block number) that contained three or more residential directory listings were equally likely to be selected; after selection two more digits were added randomly to complete the number. This method guarantees coverage of every assigned phone number regardless of whether that number is directory listed, purposely unlisted, or too new to be listed. After selection, the numbers were compared against business directories and matching numbers were purged.

Principal Investigators

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

Related Publications

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Survey Report: GOP the Religion-Friendly Party, But Stem Cell Issue May Help Democrats, August 24, 2004

Related Sites:

Notes on Weighted Data

Weighting is generally used in survey analysis to compensate for patterns of nonresponse that might bias results. The interviewed sample of all adults was weighted by form to match national parameters for sex, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and region (U.S. Census definitions). These parameters came from a special analysis of the Census Bureau's 2003 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) that included all households in the continental United States that had a telephone.

Weighting was accomplished using Sample Balancing, a special iterative sample weighting program that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using a statistical technique called the Deming Algorithm. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the national population. Table 1 compares weighted and unweighted sample distributions to population parameters.

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