News Interest Index, March 2004

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > General Population > National > Pew Research Center > Summary


This survey investigates respondents’ opinions concerning a variety of recent issues covered by news media, such as: the 2004 presidential election, the personal attributes and actions of John Kerry and President George W. Bush, news sources for the election, effects of recent tax cuts, and a possible Constitutional amendment on gay marriage. The survey also asks the extent to which respondents have followed recent topics in news media (i.e., Mel Gibson’s film, Martha Stewart, Iraq, bombings in Madrid, etc.).

Data File
Cases: 1,703
Variables: 157
Weight Variable: WEIGHT
Data Collection
Date Collected: March 17 to March 21, 2004
Funded By
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
Collection Procedures
(All quotations taken from: Methodology provided by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2004).

Telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) “with a nationally representative sample of 1,703 adults living in continental United States telephone households. The interviews were conducted in English by Princeton Data Source, LLC from March 17 to March 21, 2004. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±3%.”
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 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 purged.”

“As many as 10 attempts were made to contact every sampled telephone number. SThe 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.”
Principal Investigators
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
Related Publications
Source: Methodology provided by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2004.

The following link contains a Pew Research Center report on the findings of this survey:

http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=207
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.”

More information on methodology, coding and weight variables can be found at the following link:

http://www.people-press.org/methodology/