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Center for American Democracy

sign reading "polling station" in front of brick wall

By Bondegezou (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

About

Why do Americans vote as they do on Election Day? The mission of the Center for American Democracy and its main research project, the American National Election Studies (ANES), is to offer explanations of election outcomes by producing high quality data on voting, public opinion, and political participation to serve the research needs of social scientists, teachers, students, policy makers and journalists. 

Funding from the National Science Foundation

Supported by the National Science Foundation, the ANES provides researchers with a view of the political world through the eyes of ordinary citizens. Such data are critical, because these citizens' actions determine election outcomes.

2016 Funding Update

Recently ANES was awarded $9 million by the NSF to study voter participation and decision-making in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) shares the award with IRiSS.  The 2016 study will include customary face-to-face interviews with national probability samples of adult citizens immediately before and after the presidential election. An internet-based pre- and post-presidential election survey will complement the traditional face-to-face study. The ANES will recruit respondents by mail to complete surveys online.

2012 Funding Update

In 2012 ANES was awarded $10 million by the NSF to study voter participation and decision-making in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, and in the mid-term elections of 2010.  The 2012 study will include customary face-to-face interviews with national probability samples of eligible voters immediately prior to and following the presidential election. The 2012 study will also include large numbers of African-Americans and Latinos.  The ANES also conducted a series of internet surveys called the 2010-2012 Evaluations of Government and Society. The overarching theme of the surveys is to gauge political perceptions during one of the most momentous periods in American history.

History of the American National Election Studies

The ANES is the longest political time series in the world, with data from every U.S. presidential election since Harry Truman’s unexpected victory in 1948.  An online Guide to Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior provides easy access to tables and graphs that display the ebb and flow of public opinion, electoral behavior, and choice in American politics over time. 

More information

For more information about the American National Election Studies, visit the study website.