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2012 Time Series Study

About the Dataset

Type of study: ANES Time Series Study

Face-to-face sample:

  • Sample universe: U.S. eligible voters (cross-section)
  • Sample composition: all fresh cross-section cases; 2 oversamples
  • Number of waves: 2 (pre-eIection, post-election)
  • Modes used: face-to face; CASI
  • Instrument format: tablet CAPI; tablet CASI
  • Number of dataset respondents: 2,054

Internet sample:

  • Sample universe: U.S. eligible voters (cross-section)
  • Sample composition: internet panel group
  • Number of waves: 4 (2 pre-eIection, 2 post-election)
  • Modes used: internet
  • Instrument format: web-based
  • Number of dataset respondents: 3,860


  • FTF sample: weight_ftf
  • WEB sample: weight_web
  • FULL sample: weight_full


  • Additional files: none
  • Associated studies or derivative files: ANES 2013 Internet Recontact Study

Study Content Highlights

In addition to content on electoral participation, voting behavior, and public opinion, the 2012 ANES Time Series Study contains questions in other areas such as media exposure, cognitive style, and values and predispositions. Several items were measured on ANES for the first time, including ‘Big Five’ personality traits using the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), skin tone observations made by interviewers in the face-to-face study, and a vocabulary test from the General Social Survey called ‘Wordsum.’ The Post-Election interview also included Module 4 from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES).

Study Design Highlights

Data collection for the ANES 2012 Time Series Study began in early September and continued into January, 2013. Pre-election interviews were conducted with study respondents during the two months prior to the 2012 elections and were followed by post-election reinterviewing beginning November 7, 2012.

For the first time in Time Series history, face-to-face interviewing was supplemented with data collection on the Internet. Data collection was conducted in the two modes independently, using separate samples. While face-to-face (FTF) respondents were administered the single pre-election interview and single post-election interview traditional to Time Series presidential-election-year studies, for the internet sample the same questions were administered over a total of 4 shorter online interviews, 2 pre-election and 2 post-election. Web-administered cases constituted a representative sample separate from the face-to-face sample and were drawn from panel members of GfK Knowledge Networks.

The face-to-face (FTF) sample of fresh cross-section cases featured oversamples of blacks and Hispanics. For the first time in the ANES Time Series, FTF respondents were administered CAPI interviews programmed as instruments on handheld tablets, which were employed by interviewers using touchscreen, stylus, attached keyboard or any combination of entry modes according to interviewer preference. In both the pre-election and post-election FTF interviews a special CASI (Computer Assisted Self-Interviewing) segment was conducted.

Weights Summary

Weighting is required for use of the 2012 Time Series data as a representative cross-section.
There are three weight variables on the file, each intended to be used for a different purpose:

  1. “weight_ftf” for analysis of the face-to-face sample alone;
  2. “weight_web” for analysis of the Internet sample alone;
  3. “weight_full” for analysis of the combined sample.

Additional Files

The 2012 Vote Validation dataset serves to validate self-reported voter turnout and registration from the ANES 2012 Time Series with voter records from 3 commercial vendors, and to evaluate the quality and value of such data. The data can be merged with the 2012 Time Series data.

Associated Studies or Derivative Files

A randomly selected subsample of those who completed all pre- and post-election waves of the 2012 Time Series on the internet were invited to complete a followup Web interview in July, 2013 for the ANES 2013 Internet Recontact Study.