Improving public opinion surveys: Interdisciplinary innovation and the American national election studies
The American National Election Studies (ANES) is the premier social science survey program devoted to voting and elections. Conducted during the presidential election years and midterm Congressional elections, the survey is based on interviews with voters and delves into why they make certain choices. In this edited volume, John Aldrich and Kathleen McGraw bring together a group of leading social scientists that developed and tested new measures that might be added to the ANES, with the ultimate goal of extending scholarly understanding of the causes and consequences of electoral outcomes.
The contributors--leading experts from several disciplines in the fields of polling, public opinion, survey methodology, and elections and voting behavior--illuminate some of the most important questions and results from the ANES 2006 pilot study. They look at such varied topics as self-monitoring in the expression of political attitudes, personal values and political orientations, alternate measures of political trust, perceptions of similarity and disagreement in partisan groups, measuring ambivalence about government, gender preferences in politics, and the political issues of abortion, crime, and taxes.
Testing new ideas in the study of politics and the political psychology of voting choices and turnout, this collection is an invaluable resource for all students and scholars working to understand the American electorate.
In the United States and many Western democracies, the individual personalities of voters rather than their social locations in various interest groups are presumably becoming decisive for political choice. This shift may reflect declining distinctiveness and extremity of parties as they seek the political center, increased complexity of political issues, growing interdependence among political units, and greater concern in the electorate with social relations and intimacy.
Early research on personality in politics dealt mainly with the dispositions, attitudes, and motives of voters and leaders. A broad literature attests to the merits and limitations of these approaches. More recent studies show that basic personal values largely mediate the effects of individuals’backgrounds and personality traits on voting behavior and on their core political attitudes. The 2006 ANES Pilot Study provided the first assessment of the role of basic personal values in politics in a representative American sample.