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CBS News/New York Times Persian Gulf War Polls, January-February 1991

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • CBS News
  • The New York Times
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
alliances; Arab Americans; Baker, James; Bush Administration (1989-1993); Bush, George H.W.; civilians; combat; congressional voting; diplomacy; FBI; Gorbachev, Mikhail; Hussein, Saddam; military air strikes; military alliances; military operations; military strategies; negotiation; Persian Gulf War; presidential performances; protest demonstrations; public opinion; sanctions; terrorist attacks; voting behavior; war; war casualties
  • Abstract

    This series of interviews tracks public opinion regarding the Persian Gulf War from the period immediately prior to the initiation of bombing in January 1991 to the ensuing ground combat in February. In addition to monitoring the evolving war, these data also provide an ongoing evaluation of the Bush presidency during that time period. Part 1 (January 5-7) examines sending troops to Saudi Arabia vs. staying out, the likelihood of war, Bush's efforts to find diplomatic solutions, negotiating with Saddam Hussein vs. forcing Iraq to leave Kuwait, the possibility of terrorist attacks in the United States, how closely the respondent followed the news of the Persian Gulf situation, military action against Iraq vs. waiting for sanctions to work, requiring a congressional declaration of war, Congress voting on a declaration of war before or after the January 15 deadline for Iraq's withdrawal, the January 9 meeting between Secretary of State James Baker and Iraq's foreign minister, attempting to meet with Hussein before January 15, and what might happen in the Persian Gulf in the event of war or otherwise. Part 2 (January 11-13) poses questions identical to Part 1 and addresses new issues, including whether Bush had already decided prior to the January 15 deadline to send troops into battle, whether a Kuwaiti offer to trade part of its territory in exchange for Iraq's withdrawal would be an acceptable resolution to the crisis, whether congressional authorization of the use of force would increase the likelihood of war, how congressmen should vote concerning the authorization of force, what Bush should do if only one house of Congress votes in favor of the use of force, whether the failure of the meeting between Secretary Baker and Iraq's foreign minister on January 9 made war more likely, and more questions related to what might happen in the Persian Gulf in the event of war or otherwise. Part 3 (January 5-7, 17 Panel) replicates both Part 1, the January 5-7 survey, and Part 5, the January 17 survey. It also examines new issues, including whether the United States did the right thing in initiating military action against Iraq, whether the war would last weeks or months, the number of expected American casualties in the war, whether the United States should remove Saddam Hussein from power in addition to driving Iraqi troops out of Kuwait, bombing military targets in heavily populated civilian areas vs. targets not in heavily populated areas, impressions of how the war was proceeding for the United States, how the respondent first heard about the war, perceptions of the main reason why United States forces were fighting in the Persian Gulf, and the reliability of Israel as an ally of the United States. Part 4 (January 17-20 Combined) replicates questions from Part 3, the January 17 survey, and probes new areas, including whether the war to defeat Iraq would be worth the cost in human life and financial resources, whether news that the war had begun made the respondent feel more worried or relieved, whether members of Congress who voted against the use of military force were viewed more/less favorably, FBI interviews of Arab-American business/community leaders, Arab-American sympathy for Iraq, Israeli retaliation for future Iraqi missile attacks, opposition to the war via protest marches/rallies and their effect on the war effort, military/economic aid to Israel, whether the United States military was holding back information about the war, if following the war news had affected the respondent's schedule, and whether the United States was correct to enter the Vietnam War. Questions unique to Part 5 (January 17) include whether the respondent felt proud about the United States' actions in the Persian Gulf, and whether getting Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait or the outcome of the struggle for freedom in the Soviet Union was of more importance to the United States. Questions unique to Part 6 (January 18) include whether Israel should retaliate for future Iraqi missile attacks. Part 7 (January 19) repeats questions from Part 6. Questions asked in Part 8 (January 20) include whether military/economic aid to Israel should be increased. Questions unique to Part 9 (February 12-13) consider whether Iraqi troops could be forced out of Kuwait by continued bombing or if a ground war would be necessary, the timing of the start of a ground war, whether a ground war would be worth the loss of thousands of American troops, the targeting of civilian as well as military locations for bombing, Israel's involvement in the war, continuing to fight until Hussein was removed from power vs. ending the war when Iraqi troops left Kuwait, whether removing Hussein from power would be worth the cost of thousands of American troops, effects of the war on the respondent, the timing of negotiations to end the war, the United States' inflicting excessive damage on Iraq, paying the cost of rebuilding Iraq after the war, the effect of the war on government's ability to function in other areas, and satisfaction with the accuracy and quantity of war-related information. Questions unique to Part 10 (February 24) involve whether the United States was correct to begin the ground war, the anticipated length of the ground war, whether Bush tried hard enough to reach a diplomatic solution before beginning the ground war, whether the United States and Iraq were close to a negotiated settlement before the ground war began, and opinions of Mikhail Gorbachev and his motives in trying to negotiate an end to the war. Questions unique to Part 11 (February 25) examine whether the United States should set up a new government in Iraq if Saddam Hussein was removed from power, whether United States troops should remain in the Gulf after the war to insure stability in the region, the extent to which the people of Iraq were to blame for allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power, and whether the United States should allow the Kuwaiti royal family to return to its position leading Kuwait after the war.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: January 5-7
    • DS2: January 11-13
    • DS3: January 5-7, 17 Panel
    • DS4: January 17-20 Combined
    • DS5: January 17
    • DS6: January 18
    • DS7: January 19
    • DS8: January 20
    • DS9: February 12-13
    • DS10: February 24
    • DS11: February 25
    • DS12: Codebook for All Parts
Temporal Coverage
  • 1991-01-11 / 1991-02-25
    Time period: 1991-01-11--1991-02-25
  • 1991-01-11 / 1991-02-25
    Collection date: 1991-01-11--1991-02-25
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Adult population of the United States aged 18 and over.
Stratified random digit dialing. Within households, respondents were selected using a method developed by Leslie Kish and modified by Charles Backstrom and Gerald Hursh (see Backstrom and Hursh, SURVEY RESEARCH [Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1963]).
Collection Mode
  • A weight variable is included that must be used in any analysis. Telephone exchanges, telephone numbers, and names of respondents have been recoded to "999" for reasons of confidentiality.

2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 12 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 9619 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09619.v1
  • Edwards, George C., III, Mitchell, William, Welch, Reed. Explaining presidential approval: The significance of issue salience. American Journal of Political Science.39, (1), 108-134.1995.
  • Patterson, Kelly D., Magleby, David B.. Poll Trends: Public Support for Congress. Public Opinion Quarterly.56, (4), 539-551.1992.
    • ID: 10.1086/269346 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

CBS News; The New York Times (1992): CBS News/New York Times Persian Gulf War Polls, January-February 1991. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.