In this season of electoral uncertainty, both researchers and concerned citizens can find the extensive data available at the National Election Studies Website quite useful. "NES conducts national surveys of the American electorate in presidential and midterm election years and carries out research and development work through pilot studies in odd-numbered years. The NES time-series now encompasses 23 biennial election studies spanning five decades." The data from these studies, along with codebooks, cover public opinion and political participation themes such as "expectations about the election outcome; perceptions and evaluations of the major parties and their candidates; interest in the campaign; information about politics; partisanship; assessments of the relative importance of major problems facing the country; attention to campaign coverage in the mass media; feelings of political efficacy; political values; conservatism vs. liberalism; trust in government; political participation; vote choice; economic well-being; positions on social welfare, economic, social, and civil rights issues" and more. Pilot studies, whose data is also available on-site, are conducted in off-election years in order "to test new, or refine existing, instrumentation and study designs." A major feature of the site, useful to not only researchers but journalists and the general public, is The NES Guide to Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior, which offers easily digestible data on a whole range of issues drawn from the time-series studies.


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