Surveys of American Public Culture

Data File:

  • Cases: 2,174
  • Variables: 281

Data collection:

  • May 7–21, 1990

Life Choices—1990

Principal Investigators: James Davison Hunter and Carl Desportes Bowman

Sampling and Fieldwork by the Gallup Organization, Inc.

The Life Choices Study was an in-depth study of Americans' beliefs and opinions on a variety of life-related issues, abortion being first and foremost among them. Additionally, euthanasia, capital punishment, and military service receive brief treatment. The survey attempts to penetrate the broader cultural currents underlying the polarizations and contradictions that characterize public opinion on these matters. The study was guided by the following questions: Why do people diverge so sharply in their views? Who are those that lie at the extremes and in the middle? What systems of moral reasoning anchor their opinions? Which appeals, arguments, and obligations have the greatest impact upon their views?

Life ChoicesFull survey details and data on ARDA (this link will navigate you away from

Survey Report (download full report)

Citation: James Davison Hunter and Carl Desportes Bowman, Life Choices: Survey of American Public Culture (Charlottesville, Va: Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia, 1990).

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The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture is an interdisciplinary research center and intellectual community at the University of Virginia committed to understanding contemporary cultural change and its individual and social consequences, training young scholars, and providing intellectual leadership in service to the public good.

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