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 survey consisting mainly of multiple choice questions.
The 2010 AES is the ninth in a series beginning in 1987. It also builds on the 1967, 1969 and 1979 Australian Political Attitudes Surveys. The 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 current 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 2010 survey replicates many questions from previous AES surveys, but also introduces new questions regarding internet usage in election campaigns. 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, and attitudes to a range of election issues including; global warming; taxation; unemployment; health and Medicare; refugees and asylum seekers; and population policy. Opinions on social policy issues including abortion, equal opportunities, and Australia's security were also covered in the 2010 AES. 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 2010 survey sections is as follows:
Section A: The Election Campaign (16 questions)
Section B: Party Preference and Voting (19 questions)
Section C: Politicians and Government (14 questions)
Section D: Election Issues (9 questions)
Section E: Social Policy (8 questions)
Section F: General Political Views (13 questions)
Section G: Education and Work (8 questions)
Section H: Personal Background (21 questions)
The sample for this study was stratified, systematic and random. The 2010 AES is the first in the series to provide the option of completing the questionnaire via hardcopy or online via a unique password.
Version 1.0 of this data published 24/12/10 had an inherent bias derived from the sample supplied by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). To address this bias a further survey was conducted in early 2011 to "top up" the Version 1.0 data. See the following link for more information:
The 2010 AES 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 2,586 KB; Stata v.8 2,487 KB; Stata v.7 2,482 KB; Nesstar Publisher; NSDstat; DIF 2,623 KB; DBase 2,515 KB; Textfile 2,514 KB; Delimited 2,511 KB; SAS 2,536 KB; Comma Separated Value file 2,513 KB.