The Australian Election Study (AES) is designed to collect data for academic research on Australian public opinion and behaviour during federal elections. Each study is based on a national, post-election, self-completion (mail-in, mail-out) survey consisting mainly of multiple choice questions.
The 1996 study is the fourth in a series of surveys beginning in 1987 which have been timed to coincide with Australian Federal elections. The series also builds on the 1967 and 1979 Australian Political Attitudes Surveys. The Australian Election Studies aim to provide a long-term perspective on stability and change in the political attitudes and behaviour of the Australian electorate, and investigate the changing social bases of Australian politics as the economy and society modernise and change character. In addition to these long-term goals they examine the political issues prevalent in the election and assesses their importance for the election result.
In some cases, questions are repeated in each survey so that trends can be observed over a long period of time. However, in each survey there are always new sets of questions or modules added to gauge public opinion on contemporary social and political issues in Australia.
The 1996 survey replicates many questions from earlier surveys but also introduces a variety of new questions including a section on national identity. Other sections covered the respondent's interest in the election campaign and politics, their past and present political affiliation, evaluation of parties and candidates, alignment with parties on various election issues, evaluation of the economic situation and economic policies, attitudes to a range of environmental issues, attitudes to foreign affairs and defence issues and attitudes to contemporary social policy issues including equal opportunity, censorship, migration, assistance for aborigines, abortion, criminal law, expenditure on social services, the monarchy and the Australian flag. Background variables include level of education, employment status, occupation, type of employer, position at workplace, trade union membership, sex, age, own and parents country of birth, parents' political preferences, religion, marital status, income, and where applicable, the occupation, trade union membership and political preference of the respondent's spouse.
The breakdown of the 1996 survey sections is as follows:
Section A: The Election Campaign (12 questions)
Section B: Party Preference and Voting (17 questions)
Section C: The Candidates (7 questions)
Section D: Election Issues (9 questions)
Section E: Social Policy (13 questions)
Section F: Foreign Affairs and Defence (7 questions)
Section G: National Identity (12 questions)
Section H: Education and Work (8 questions)
Section I: ?
Section J: Personal Background (18 questions)
The sample for this study was stratified, systematic and random. A sample of electors for all Australia except South Australia was drawn from the Commonwealth Electoral Roll by the Australian Electoral Commission following the close of rolls for the 1996 election. The Commission supplied name and address information only, to be used only for this study. The South Australian sample was selected manually from the alphabetical microfiche list of electors available for that state in early February.
The data is available in a variety of formats including SPSS Portable, Stata v.8, Stata v.7, Nesstar Publisher, NSDstat, DIF, DBase, Textfile, Delimited, SAS and Comma Separated Value file. The data can be downloaded in a zipped folder together with documentation in pdf or xml format.
SPSS Portable 1,773 KB; Stata v.8 1,720 KB; Stata v.7 1,715 KB; Nesstar Publisher 1,807 KB; NSDstat; DIF 1,807 KB; DBase 1,736 KB; Textfile 1,734 KB; Delimited 1,735 KB; SAS 1,752 KB; Comma Separated Value file 1,752 KB.