The Australian Election Study (AES) is designed to collect data for research on Australian public opinion and behaviour during federal elections. It is based on a national, post-election, self-completion (mail-in, mail-out) survey consisting mainly of multiple choice questions.
The 1998 Australian Election Study is the fifth in a series of surveys beginning in 1987. The series also builds on the 1967, 1969 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 assess 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 1998 survey replicates many questions from previous Australian Election Studies, but also introduces a variety of new questions including a section on the constitution, rights and minorities. Other sections cover 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 current economic situation, attitudes to a range of election issues including the GST, immigration, unemployment, the Telstra sale, and education, views on the monarchy and the importance of Australia becoming a republic, attitudes to issues relating to the environment and defence, assessment of the current level of racial prejudice operating in Australia today, and opinions on various social policy issues including euthanasia, abortion, equal opportunities, sex discrimination, and government assistance to Aborigines. 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 1998 survey sections is as follows:
Section A: The Election Campaign (12 questions)
Section B: Party Preference and Voting (20 questions)
Section C: The Candidates (6 questions)
Section D: Election Issues (14 questions)
Section E: Social Policy (22 questions)
Section F: Relations with Other Countries (7 questions)
Section G: The Constitution, Rights and Minorities (17 questions)
Section H: Education and Work (6 questions)
Section I: Personal Background (20 questions)
The sample for this study was stratified, systematic and random. A sample of electors for all Australia was drawn from the Commonwealth Electoral Roll by the Australian Electoral Commission following the close of rolls for the 1998 election. The Commission supplied name and address information only, to be used only for this study.
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 2,578 KB; Stata v.8 2,509 KB; Stata v.7 2,505 KB; Nesstar Publisher 2,619 KB; NSDstat; DIF 2,625 KB; DBase 2,524 KB; Textfile 2,523 KB; Delimited 2,524 KB; SAS 2,550 KB; Comma Separated Value file 2,525 KB.