American National Election Studies

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Political science professor Shanto Iyengar co-leads the American National Election Studies, a nationwide survey of the American electorate which collects high-quality data on voting, public opinion, and political participation to serve the research needs of social scientists, teachers, students, policy makers and journalists.  IRiSS administers a quadrennial grant from the National Science Foundation to run the ANES.

Read the latest press release on the NSF award for the 2024 presidential cycle.

The NSF began funding the ANES in 1977, so that the ANES would "generate data pertaining to the citizen’s social background, political predispositions, underlying social and political values, contemporary perceptions and evaluations of relevant groups and would-be leaders, opinions on questions of public policy, and participation in political life." The ANES is a joint collaboration between the University of Michigan (U-M) and Stanford University; U-M administers the in-person portion of the ANES, while Stanford IRiSS runs the online component of the study.

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ANES Mission

Why does America vote as it does on Election Day? The mission of the American National Election Studies (ANES) is to inform explanations of election outcomes by providing data that support rich hypothesis testing, maximize methodological excellence, measure many variables, and promote comparisons across people, contexts, and time. The ANES serves this mission by providing researchers with a view of the political world through the eyes of ordinary citizens. 

History of the ANES

The ANES is the longest time series of political data widely available to researchers, with data from every U.S. presidential election since Harry Truman’s unexpected victory in 1948.  The study was established at the University of Michigan (U-M), with financial support from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and continued to be administered by U-M alone for several decades. In 2005, U-M began its collaboration with the Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, with Stanford researchers taking the lead on the online component of the study.

For an overview of the history of ANES, please visit the timeline of ANES milestones.

This 2006 report from Stanford News Service documents the origins of Stanford's role in developing the online component of the ANES.

Public Resources

All ANES data are free and available online from the ANES Data Center. Additionally, 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 ANES, see the study website and these related publications by Stanford researchers.