The Australian Election Study (AES) is designed to collect data for academic research on Australian public opinion and behaviour during federal elections.
The 1990 study is the second in the series initiated in 1987, and builds on the data collected earlier in the 1967 and 1979 Australian Political Attitudes Surveys. The series provides a long-term perspective on stability and change in the political attitudes and behaviour of the Australian electorate, and investigates the changing social bases of Australian politics as the economy and society modernise and change character. Each study is based on a national, post-election, self-completion survey consisting mainly of multiple choice questions.
A range of questions are included in the survey which cover election issues and the respondent's assessment of the most effective party to handle them, as well as questions on specific political issues. A section on social policy includes questions on around 30 contemporary social and moral issues, including abortion, Aboriginal rights, pornography, health care and many others. A section on industrial policy focuses on attitudes towards the control of the economy, to trade unions and big business, and to industrial conflict in general. In addition to the standard questions on vote in the current election, recalled vote in the 1987 federal election, and party identification, the survey contains an extensive section dealing with attitudes to the major parties and to the party leaders. Finally, a range of demographic data are collected for each respondent and their spouse or partner, if applicable.
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.
Two major themes are covered in the 1990 survey, the economy and the environment. Questions on the economy include evaluations of the country's economy and the individual's own personal household situation; wages and price controls; attitudes to particular economic issues; and the position of the major parties and party leaders on the main economic issues. Questions on the environment include attitudes to the protection of the environment and to environmental issues in general; the role of industry and the government in ensuring environmental protection; rankings of the most urgent environmental issues and the respondent's assessment of their likely future importance; and attitudes toward environmental pressure and interest groups, including current or likely membership.
The breakdown of the 1990 survey sections is as follows:
Section A: The Election Campaign (9 questions)
Section B: Party Preference and Voting (9 questions)
Section C: Political Leaders and Parties (9 questions)
Section D: Election Issues (3 questions)
Section E: The Economy (7 questions)
Section F: Social Policy (10 questions)
Section G: The Environment (10 questions)
Section H: Industrial Relations (6 questions)
Section I: Education and Work (9 questions)
Section J: Personal Background (15 questions)
For the 1990 study, The Australian Electoral Office provided a systematic random sample of electors from its computerised electoral role. The sample of 3277 electors was made by selecting 1 in 2989 from the roll, distributed proportionately across States and Territories and Electoral Divisions, excluding South Australia. A supplementary sample of 330 cases was selected manually from the alphabetical microfiche list of electors in South Australia, again using the sample fraction of 1 in 2989 persons.
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 1,400 KB; Stata v.8 1,400 KB; Stata v.7 1,350 KB; Nesstar Publisher 1,419 KB; NSDstat; DIF 1,438 KB; DBase 1,341 KB; Textfile 1,340 KB; Delimited 1,370 KB; SAS 1,350 KB; Comma Separated Value file 1,371 KB.