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Memo
To: Members of the ANES Community
From: Nancy Burns and Donald R. Kinder
Re: ANES Announcement: Update on the 2004 American National Election Studies
Date: January 20, 2005

We are thrilled to let you know that ANES has just completed its 2004 studies, and we'd like to give you an update on those two very successful studies.

The Time-Series Study

In the fall of 2004, ANES carried out its time-series election study before, and then, again, immediately after the 2004 Presidential election. The study, in part, maintains and extends the NES time-series by collecting data on Americans' basic political beliefs, allegiances, and behaviors -- what we refer to locally as "Core". Core includes aspects of political belief and action so basic to the understanding of politics that they must be monitored at every election, no matter the nature of the specific campaign or the broader setting. Core consists of: (1) attachments to the parties; (2) evaluations of incumbents and their challengers; (3) opinions on political issues; (4) ideological identification and political values; (5) general attitudes toward democratic procedure and the political system; (6) engagement and participation in politics; (7) immersion in mass media; (8) identification with and attitude toward social groups; and (9) social background.

Like its predecessors, the 2004 ANES was divided between questions necessary in tracking long-term trends and those necessary to understand the particular political moment of 2004. The study carried special instrumentation on American's views on foreign policy, on the war on terrorism, and on the Iraq War and its consequences. It extended the experiment on the measurement of voter turnout begun in 2002. It carried expanded instrumentation on inflation, immigration, gender politics, and gay and lesbian politics. We are especially pleased that it carried the Comparative Studies of Electoral System's Module 2 on representation and accountability (CSES; http://www.cses.org).

Before the election, we interviewed 1,212 people for approximately 62 minutes each between September 7th and November 1st, for a response rate of 66.1%. No interviewing was conducted on Election Day. We interviewed these respondents, again, immediately after the election. The post-election study interviewed 1,067 of the pre-election respondents for approximately 63 minutes each between November 3rd and December 20th, for a re-interview rate of 88.0%. All interviews were conducted face-to-face. Data collection for the time-series studies was conducted by the Survey Research Center ( http://www.isr.umich.edu/src/) at the University of Michigan.

This is the highest response rate for a Presidential study since 1992. And in 2000, 1996, and 1992, we had another full week to carry out pre-election interviews because Labor Day fell earlier in the year. As you probably know, surveys across the country have been dealing with dramatically declining response rates. The tremendous success of this study is especially good news, and we are grateful to our staff and to the interviewers and staff of the Survey Research Center who made this possible.

The time series study was supported through funds provided by the National Science Foundation and the University of Michigan (the Center for Political Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Survey Research Center, and the Provost).

The Completion of the 2000-2002-2004 Panel Study

We fielded a second important study, a study to complete the 2000-2002-2004 Panel Study. We re-interviewed a sample of voting age Americans in the fall of 2004, immediately after the presidential election. These respondents were first questioned by the National Election Study in the fall of 2000 and then again in the fall of 2002. Interviewing this sample one last time, at the climax of the 2004 presidential campaign, makes possible a uniquely valuable analysis of the political consequences of historic events. We know a great deal about this sample – what they thought about politics and society and the place of the United States in the world – before history intruded so forcefully on their lives: before the unprecedented election contest of 2000 and before the terrorist attack of September 11th. We know, from the 2002 interviews, what sense they began to make of these events. Having interviewed the same people again in 2004 enables us to complete the story, to trace out the political implications of the turbulent history of the last four years. Such implications include Americans' willingness to participate in politics, their satisfaction with democratic institutions, their support for an ongoing war on terrorism, and in light of the changed landscape of international politics, the priority they assign to such domestic matters as growth, deficits, and inequality.

The 2004 phase of the panel study was given in large part to questions that capture the likely consequences of the election contest of 2000 and the terrorist attack of September 11th, as understood and interpreted by ordinary Americans. This included instrumentation on participation in political and civic life, satisfaction with democratic institutions, support for administration policy, views on Afghanistan, Iraq, and homeland security.

After the election, we approached the 1,187 respondents that previously interviewed with us in the NES2000 and NES2002 studies for an interview of approximately 45 minutes in length. Of these, 841 persons interviewed with us again between November 3rd and December 20th, with 16 deceased in the interim, resulting in a tremendous re-interview rate of 71.8%. All interviews were conducted over the telephone. Data collection for the study was conducted by SRBI (http://www.srbi.com). And we want to thank our staff and the interviewers and staff of SRBI for making this study a big success.

The completion of the 2000-2002-2004 panel study was funded by the University of Michigan and the Carnegie Foundation.

Tentative Data Release Schedule
 
We expect an advance release of the time series studies (both pre-election and post-election) to be made available on our website before the end of February, with the full release by the end of May. There will be no advance release of the panel study, though the full release is expected by the end of May. When the datasets are ready, we will send an announcement by email.

Draft versions of all three questionnaires can be found on the ANES 2004 Study Page on our website at: http://www.electionstudies.org/studypages/2004prepost/2004prepost.htm

Would You Like to Receive Notification of the Advance Release of these Data?

To receive notice of the advance data release for the 2004 ANES, please join our mailing list by sending an email to "anes@electionstudies.org".

Public Meeting

Our next public meeting will be at the Midwest Political Science Association Meetings, early Thursday evening. (We'll send more details when we know them.) We'll look forward to seeing you there!

Best wishes,
 
Nancy Burns, Principal Investigator
Donald Kinder, Co-Principal Investigator
American National Election Studies (ANES)
http://www.electionstudies.org
anes@electionstudies.org.