SSRIC LogoCLEG Exercise

Exercises to Accompany the Instructional Subset of the 1996 Field Poll (FI 9604)
Opinion of the California Legislature

JeDon Emenhiser, Humboldt State University
John L. Korey, Calif State Polytechnic University Pomona


© The Authors, 1998; Last Modified 16 August 1998

For these exercises use the data set clegsp.por

CLEG is an instructional subset of 41 variables from a 1996 California Field Poll (FI9604) that compares public opinion on lawmaking by the Legislature and by the initiative process. The exercises are intended for beginning and intermediate students in political science, sociology, journalism, and communication. Students may produce a frequency table, create new variables, crosstabutale, and perform a regression on income by years of education.

  1. What does the sample of California's adult population surveyed in 1996 think about the performance of their state Legislature? Create a frequency table of the percentages of the responses to the question of variable PCALEG.
  2. How does the opinion of the respondents about the state Legislature compare to their opinion of the Governor? Cross-tabulate PCAGOV (rows) by PCALEG (columns). Generally, do the same respondents who favor the Legislature also favor the Governor or not? Why?
  3. Use the AGE variable to create a new variable, GENERA, with the following values:
    1. The G.I. Generation (born 1925 or earlier)
    2. The Silent Generation (born 1926-1945)
    3. Early Boomers (born 1946-1955)
    4. Late Boomers (born 1956-1964)
    5. Gen Xers (born 1965 or later)
  4. Create a new variable that recodes EDUC into a smaller number of categories (3 to 5) of about equal size. Do the same for INCOME. Be sure not to replace the original variables. You'll need them later on.
  5. Recode PARTY, PARSTREN, and PARLEAN into a new variable, PARTYID, that has the values of Strong Democrat, Moderate Democrat, Independent Democrat, Independent, Independent Republican, Moderate Republican, and Strong Republican.
  6. Similarly, recode IDEO and IDEOSTR into a new variable IDEOID with the values Strong Liberal, Moderate Liberal, Middle-of-the-Road, Moderate Conservative, and Strong Conservative.
  7. Cross-tabulate PARTYID with PCALEG, PCAGOV, PUSCONG, PUSPRES, COUNTRY. Based on the results, are the opinions of Independent Democrats and Independent Republicans more like Independents, Moderate partisans, or Strong Partisans? Use PARTYID to help answer the last part of Exercise No. 2
  8. Select a number of other variables to cross-tabulate with PCALEG, etc., in order to learn who is most likely to say that the California Legislature is doing a good job and who is most likely to say that it is doing a poor job. Which variables have the strongest relationship to opinion about the California Legislature? Consider using a matrix of the values for V.
  9. What are the characteristics of the respondents who say that elected representatives in the Legislature most generally enact more coherent and well-thought-out government policies? What are the characteristics of those who say that the people voting on propositions do a better job? Cross-tabulate VOTLEGPOL, VOTLEGTL, VOTLEGRE, VOTLEGLA, VOTLEGTR with those variables that you believe will provide the best answer. Cross-tabulate VOTELEGPOL, etc., with each other.
  10. Who were the respondents that said they would most likely vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress in 1996. Who were for the Republican candidate? Who were most likely to vote Democratic or Republican for the California Legislature? Select those variables that you think will answer the question and test your hypothesis by cross-tabulating those variables with VOTHOUSE, VOTCAASM, and VOTCASEN.
  11. Who wanted the 1996 elections for President and Congress to result in strong party government, that is a President and a majority of Congress of the same party? Who wanted divided party government, a President of one party and a Congress of another? Select those variables that you think will answer the question and test them by cross-tabulating them with CONGCLIN and CONGDOLE.
  12. Use bivariate regression (least squares) analysis to assess the impact of EDUC on INCOME (unrecoded).

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