American National Election Studies (ANES) Competition

Funder: The National Science Foundation

Budget: $11,500,000

Due Date: April 20, 2018

Opportunity: 18-519

The American National Election Studies (ANES) produce high quality data from its own surveys on voting, public opinion, and political participation. The mission of the 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.

The Political Science Program in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences expects to make two awards for the 2020 Presidential election cycle with the award to run from fiscal years 2018 to 2021. We anticipate that NSF will make two awards totaling no more than $11.5 million over four years. One will be for the traditional face-to-face survey. The second will be for a web-based survey. While these will be independent awards, the two awardees will be expected to work closely together. The expected start date is July 2018.

ANES started in 1948. Since then, the project has conducted a survey during each presidential election. One of the unique attributes of ANES is that for each election respondents have been surveyed prior to the Presidential election and then after the election. These pre and post surveys provide a unique look at how Americans participate in politics and why.

These cross-sectional surveys have been conducted using random sampling with the sampling scheme being relatively stable over time. The content of the survey has also stayed relatively stable over time though there has been the introduction of new topics, the deletion of old topics, and changes in question wording. To insure the integrity of the survey, it was decided in 1977 that the principal investigator(s) would be advised by a national Board of Overseers that would be representative of the community of scholars interested in American national elections.

The National Science Foundation has helped to support this enterprise since 1970. During this period, the survey has been conducted primarily using a face to face design where trained interviewers go into households to conduct their interviews. In addition to face to face surveys, ANES has conducted mode comparisons using random digit dialing (RDD) and, in recent years, web-based platforms. ANES has also conducted several other enhancements. For instance, several panel studies have been conducted including a 29-wave panel study conducted around the 2008 election. Other innovations have included oversamples of African Americans, oversamples of Hispanics with the instrument translated into Spanish and surveys conducted by bi-lingual interviewers, experimentation with new instrumentation, recruitment of respondents, etc.

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