December 9, 2010

Deficit Solutions Meet With Public Skepticism

Consensus in Principle, Resistance in Practice

About the Surveys

Most of the analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted December 1-5, 2010 among a national sample of 1,500 adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States (1,000 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 500 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 201 who had no landline telephone). Interviewing was conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Both the landline and cell phone samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see: http://www.people-press.org/methodology/

The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, region, and population density to parameters from the March 2009 Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status and relative usage of landline and cell phones (for those with both), based on extrapolations from the 2009 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size within the landline sample. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting. The following table shows the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:

In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

In addition to the main survey, this report is supplemented with results from an omnibus survey. Telephone interviews were conducted December 2-5, 2010 among a national sample of 1,003 adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States (671 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 332 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 146 who had no landline telephone). Interviewing was conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Both the landline and cell phone samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English.

The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin, region, and population density to parameters from the March 2009 Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The sample is also weighted to match current patterns of telephone status, based on extrapolations from the 2009 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size within the landline sample. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting. The following table shows the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:

In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Cite this publication: “Deficit Solutions Meet With Public Skepticism.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (December 9, 2010) http://www.people-press.org/2010/12/09/deficit-solutions-meet-with-public-skepticism-2/, accessed on July 23, 2014.