ABOUT THE DATASET:
Important: The ANES Time Series Cumulative Data File data cannot be used with codebooks other than its own.
Because each variable in the Time Series Cumulative Data File incorporates data for the same question from each of the ANES surveys, the file is particularly useful in service to three kinds of analysis: 1) analysis that focuses on over time change in citizens, in their individual characteristics, in the opinions they hold, and in their political behavior; 2) analysis that looks at subgroups of citizens that are represented by few cases in a single, cross-section sample, but by many more cases when several samples are combined; and 3) analysis that is concerned with replicating results over several elections. For these types of analyses, the chief advantage of relying on the Time Series Cumulative Data File, as opposed to combining, on one's own data from several National Election Studies, is that in constructing the Time Series Cumulative Data File, the ANES Project Staff have already gone through the trouble of recoding variables so that the same question has the same variable number and the same coding scheme for each of the Election Studies. A great deal of effort has gone into checking and verifying these recodes.
Those who use the Time Series Cumulative Data File should keep two things in mind: 1) the wording of questions occasionally changes over time to reflect changes in the political context in which the question is being asked. The ANES Project Staff have done their best to document in the codebook any over time differences in question wording that have occurred; 2) even when a question is worded identically in successive surveys, analysts may still wish to examine the placement of the question in each questionnaire to ensure that changes in its placement are not contaminating one's results.
SAMPLES FOR ELECTION STUDIES IN THE TIME SERIES CUMULATIVE FILE:
Because not all of the cross-section samples included in the Time Series Cumulative Data File are equal probability and thus self- weighting, all pooled cross-section descriptive analyses should be run using Variable 9, the weight variable. For most years, the value of that variable for all respondents is simply "1.0"