American National Election Studies releases 2016 election data

April 3, 2017

ANN ARBOR—With public responses on polarizing political issues, such as immigration,  trade, and health care, the latest data from the American National Election Studies (ANES) at the University of Michigan are now available.ANES logo

Since 1948, ANES has conducted benchmark election surveys on voting, public opinion and political participation. These data are provided (free of charge) to social scientists, teachers, students, policymakers and journalists, so that they may analyze for themselves how the experiences, opinions, and choices of individual Americans shaped the election outcome.

ANES conducted face-to-face and internet interviews with over 4,200 American citizens for 2016. The study has two independently drawn probability samples, each designed to represent the adult U.S. citizen population.

The study interviewed respondents in a pre-election survey between Sept. 7 and Nov. 7, 2016. The study re-interviewed as many as possible of the same respondents in a post-election survey between Nov. 9 and Jan. 8, 2017.

The response rate was 50 percent for the face-to-face component and 44 percent for the internet component. The re-interview rate on the post-election survey was 90 percent for the face-to-face and 84 percent for the internet.

In addition to asking many long-running questions from the ANES time series, the latest survey posed new questions on issues such as outsourcing, policing, political correctness, LGBT issues, gender issues, social mobility, economic inequality, campaign finance and international affairs.

“There has been energetic speculation throughout the past year about what voters were thinking and why they supported Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton,” said Ted Brader, one of the project’s principal investigators and U-M professor of political science. “The 2016 ANES survey provides an incredibly rich and unparalleled set of questions for testing these speculations. With the release of these data, I’m excited that the search for the truth can begin in earnest.”

“The data will tell us the extent to which Trump and Clinton voters inhabit distinct psychological worlds,” said Shanto Iyengar, one of the project’s principal investigators and Stanford professor of political science.

A major challenge for the 2016 data collection was the country’s increasing levels of polarization and highly negative presidential campaigns.

“Some Americans were much more resistant to participating in the survey,” noted Brader. “Many seemed to feel alienated, distrustful and sick of the election. Under these circumstances, we worked hard with our partners at Westat to overcome this reluctance and are pleased to have recruited such a high quality sample by Election Day.”

Located at the Institute for Social Research, ANES is a collaboration between U-M and Stanford University, with funding by the National Science Foundation.

The data can be found at


[email protected]

Catherine Allen-West, [email protected], 734-647-5073

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