American National Election Studies, Cumulative Data File, 1948-2004

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > General Population > National > National Election Studies > Summary


From the ANES website: "The ANES Project Staff has merged into a single data file cases and variables from each of the biennial American National Election Studies conducted since 1948. This file is called the ANES Cumulative Data File. Questions that have been asked in three or more Election Studies usually appear in the Cumulative Data File. The variables are coded in a comparable fashion across years. The version of the Cumulative Data File that is currently available pools data through the 2004 National Election Study to yield 47,438 cases. Note that the Cumulative Data File only includes data from the Time Series data collections (that is the Pre-/Post-Election Study in presidential election years and the Post-Election Study in midterm years). Data from other ANES studies, such as the 1984 Continuous Monitoring Study, the 1988 Super Tuesday Study, or the 1988-90-92 Senate Election Study, are not included in the Cumulative Data File."

Religion variables include religious affiliation, church attendance, subjective importance of religion, beliefs about the Bible, and attitudes toward school prayer.

For additional information on this file, see the American National Election Studies website: http://www.electionstudies.org/studypages/cdf/cdf.htm

Data File
Cases: 47,438
Variables: 950
Weight Variable: VCF0009, VCF0010, VCF0011, VCF0009a, VCF0010a, VCF0011a
Notes on the weight variables can be found in the appendices to this file, available here.
Data Collection
Date Collected: 1948 to 2004
Sampling Procedures
From the ANES website: "Over the years, the most common NES study design has been a cross-section, equal probability, sample. These designs are typically "self-weighting" -- i.e., the respondents do not need to be weighted to compensate for unequal probabilities of selection in order to restore the "representativeness" of the sample. On several occasions, however, ANES has departed from this standard design. In some years, NES "over-sampled" certain groups (African-Americans in 1964, for example). In other years, the Election Study combined a panel re-interview with a cross- section design (as in 1974, for example). It is important to understand that the Cumulative File is a file of pooled cross-section studies: any respondent for a particular study who is strictly "panel" or "supplement" has been deleted from the Cumulative File. For example, the sequence of studies 1972, 1974, and 1976, constitutes a panel, with cross-section respondents in 1972 and 1974 being re-interviewed in succeeding years. If a 1972 respondent moved out of the SRC sampling area, but was nevertheless re-interviewed, that respondent became a "panel only" respondent, and the representativeness of the 1974 cross-section was maintained by selecting a new respondent from the residents at the sample address from which the "panel only" respondent had moved. Such 1974 "panel only" respondents are not included among the 1974 respondents that appear in the Cumulative Data File. Because not all of the cross-section samples included in the 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"."
Notes from ANES
Because each variable in the 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 Cumulative Data File, as opposed to combining, on one's own data from several National Election Studies, is that in constructing the 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 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 NES 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.
Notes from the ARDA staff
In order to make the online codebook shorter and more readable, we have edited it in two ways. First, we removed all question wordings but the most recent. Previous question wordings can be found by referring to the full codebook, which can be downloaded as a pdf file. Second, many questions have been truncated by removing introductory or background material included in the actual face-to-face interview. Full question wordings can be found by referring to the full codebook.

For all appendices to this file, see the ANES website.