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Southern Focus Poll, Combined Sample, Spring 1998




Southerners tend to slip through the cracks between state surveys, which are unreliable for generalizing to the region, on the one hand, and national sample surveys, which usually contain too few Southerners to allow detailed examination, on the other. Moreover, few surveys routinely include questions specifically about the South. To remedy this situation, the Institute for Research in Social Science and the Center for the Study of the American South sponsor a Southern regional survey, called the Southern Focus Poll. Respondents in both the South and non-South are asked questions about economic conditions in their communities, cultural issues (such as Southern accent and the Confederate flag), race relations, religious involvement, and characteristics of Southerners and Northerners. All of the data sets from the Southern Focus Polls archived here are generously made available by the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (IRSS).

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

Data File

Cases: 1257
Variables: 118
Weight Variable: TOTWT and WTVARS

To combine the Southern and non-Southern data sets into a single national sample a weighting variable, TOTWT, was created. Weighting the data by this variable will allow the creation of a single national sample. The weighting variable, WTVARS, was created to weight the data by household size. This weight variable was created by dividing the variable PEOPLE by 1.9733. In order to include the very small number of missing values for PEOPLE, the variable MARITAL was used to construct a value for the weight variables. If a respondent was married, then a household weight of 1 was assigned. If respondent was not married, the assigned weight was .5.

Data Collection

February-March, 1998

Funded By

Odum Institute for Research in Social Science of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Collection Procedures

Telephone interview surveys

Sampling Procedures

The target population for the telephone survey was adults age 18 or older, residing in households with telephones in the United States. IRSS purchased random-digit dialing samples of non-Southern numbers from Genesys Sampling Systems (GSS) of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. To give each residential telephone within each sample an approximately equal chance of being dialed, GSS first systematically stratified each sample to reflect each state's proportion of the appropriate region's population. For each state, GSS then estimated the proportion of telephone numbers beginning with each three-digit prefix in use in that state. This estimate was based on the proportion of numbers with each prefix listed in the telephone directories for the state.

The target respondent within each household was the person living in the household, age 18 or over, with the next birthday. At least four call attempts were made to each telephone number, at least 24 hours apart.

Principal Investigators

Odum Institute for Research in Social Science of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (IRSS).

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