How to Use
the ANES Guide to Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior
I. How to Find and Display a Table Summarizing Responses to an ANES
Survey Question The Guide is organized according to nine main
- Social and religious characteristics of the electorate
- Partisanship and evaluation of the political parties
- Ideological self-identification
- Public opinion on public policy issues
- Support for the political system
- Political involvement and participation in politics
- Evaluation of the presidential candidates
- Evaluation of the congressional candidates
- Vote choice
To locate a survey question, in the main ANES Guide page click on the
topic (as listed above) under which that question is likely to be found.
This links to the Guide's Index, which provides a list of questions under
each of these topics. Click on a question under a topic to see a summary
table of the responses for each year that the question was asked. If you
cannot find the question you are interested in, you can search the list of
tables in the Guide for a key word (for example, vote, trust,
class, interest, turnout etc.).
Not all ANES survey questions are represented in the Guide. The
displays in the Guide were produced from data in the
Cumulative Data File. The data have been weighted by Cumulative Data
File weight variables VCF0009A, CF0010A, and VCF0011A, as appropriate. The output at the bottom of each table
identifies the weight variable that was used in the production of that
table. In 1964, 1968, and 1970, only the cross-section (rather than
supplemental, oversample cases) have been analyzed. The date the display
was generated appears at the bottom of each page so that changes,
corrections, or updates can be noted. Changes or updates to the
Guide will also be noted on our Announcements
II. Kinds of Data Displays Available in the Guide
- Initial Display Table:
The first display that appears provides the following information:
- A numerical summary of responses given to a question over time
- Question wording
- The variable number (denoted by Vxxx) where the xxx corresponds to
the variable number)
Most of the time, the numbers that appear in the initial display table
are percentages -- the percentage of respondents in each Election Study
that had given each of the responses listed. When this is the case,
PERCENTAGE WITHIN STUDY YEAR appears under the table. The percentages are
rounded to the nearest whole number and within each year they add to 100
percent (except when there are small rounding errors).
In some instances (for example, on the 100-point 'feeling'
thermometers), the average response is displayed for each year, rather
than percentages by response category. If averages rather than percentages
are being displayed, AVERAGE WITHIN STUDY YEAR will appear under the
table. A single display table somtimes lists the average values over time
for more than one question (i.e., for a set of related questions) or for
an index that was constructed by combining responses to several questions.
Any indices constructed represent variables in the ANES Cumulative
Data file; a short note describing the index is always provided, however
users should consult the ANES Cumulative Data File codebook for the
most complete documentation.
Example of an
initial display table with more information on how to interpret the
- Responses among Demographic subgroups:
The data in the initial display tables are also provided in graphs. To
see a graph over time for one of the response categories in the initial
display table (sometimes several response categories are combined), simply
click on the category under the bulleted section for Graphs.
Example of a
graph with more information on how to interpret the
III. Key To Special Symbols in Guide Tables
** A double asterisk indicates that the question was not asked in that
year's American National Election Study or that there are no respondents available
in that year who answered the question.
- A dash indicates that the particular response option was not
available in that year.
__ Underline indicates that 50 or fewer total respondents for that
subgroup of the population answered the question. In such instances, the
estimate is particularly unreliable. (This appears as a single asterisk in
the ASCII version of tables).
IV. Printing Displays
-- Printing a Single
Use the print command in your web browser to print any of the displays
that appear on your screen. Readability is usually improved by using a
small font or landscape orientation, or both.
-- Printing the Entire
First, download the Guide, as described below. This downloadable
version of the Guide is in ASCII format. Using a word processing package
to open and print each section of the Guide, it is best to use a
fixed (non-proportional) font to view or print the files. Readability is
usually improved by using a small font or landscape orientation, or
V. Downloading Data Displayed in the Guide
Each section of the Guide (1 through 9) may be
a section is downloaded, the ASCII file for that section of the
Guide will contain all tables from that section, concatenated into
a single file. Tables for subgroups are included following the tables with
which they are associated (graphs are not included). To download, in the
Guide simply click on the link for the section desired and use your
netscape browser to "save to disk" (usually found under the "file" menu
VI. Accessing the Raw Data
For data in more detail, the
ANES Cumulative Data File can be downloaded for analysis.