This report is based on a telephone survey of 700 randomly selected adult households
in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted between February 2 and
February 8, 1998, and averaged approximately 15 minutes in length.
Respondents were selected through a standard, random-digit dialing technique,
whereby every household had an equal chance of being contacted. The margin of error
for the 700 respondents is plus or minus four percent.
Interviews were conducted by Robinson and Muenster Associates, Inc., of Sioux
Falls, South Dakota. Survey Sampling, Inc., supplied the sample. Design of the survey
instrument and all interpretations of the data in the report were done by Public
In addition to the national telephone survey, a small number of open-ended interviews
were conducted by telephone with respondents who agreed to be recontacted after the
survey had been completed. Quotes were drawn from these interviews to give voice
to the attitudes captured statistically through the survey.
The report also draws on findings from The Closing Gateway study, prepared
by Public Agenda in 1993 for the California Higher Education Policy Center. That
study included a similar telephone survey of 502 adults nationally. On some questions
there are small differences in question wording between the 1998 and 1993 surveys.
These are noted where they occur in this report.
The complete questionnaire results can be ordered from Public Agenda for $20.00.