American National Election Studies

ANES wins AAPOR’s 2024 Policy Impact Award

April 15, 2024

Contact: Tevah Platt ([email protected])

ANN ARBOR – The American National Election Study (ANES) has received a significant honor for its long-running, highly successful work on American politics.

On Friday, April 12, 2024, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) granted ANES its annual Policy Impact Award, which recognizes projects making a clear impact, improving policy decisions, practice, and discourse. According to AAPOR, ANES was selected for “making public opinion available to policymakers, informing public discourse, and allowing evaluation of the functioning of democracy.”

AAPOR noted that the ANES has been the leading source of data on public opinion in electoral politics for decades, noting that “nearly all leading issues of national policy in the United States since the 1950s are addressed by the study, including, especially, racial inequality, economic inequality, social capital, campaign finance, voter ID laws, and attitudes and opinions about government institutions.”

“The entire ANES team is humbled by this award,” said ANES Principal Investigator Nicholas Valentino, professor of political science and research professor in the Institute for Social Research’s Center for Political Studies. “In our democracy, public opinion is meant to guide elected representatives’ policy decisions, so informed policy discourse and assessments of democracy require information about public opinion. The ANES collects high-quality data on opinion and behavior that inform policy discourse and allow evaluation of the functioning of democracy.”

AAPOR noted the breadth, number, and diversity of organizations that have cited or relied on the data in their policy advocacy or discourse — including the high branches of government, the lower federal courts, foreign and internationally-focused organizations, policy think tanks and advocacy organizations.

“ANES policy impact is broad, but two important and timely foci are campaign finance and voter ID laws, where ANES is regularly cited in legal briefs, policy advocacy, and non-partisan reports,” said Valentino.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the ANES: Since 1948, the definitive study of American political attitudes and behavior has run national surveys of citizens before and after every presidential election, providing a rigorous, non-partisan basis for understanding contemporary issues as well as change over time.

“It is a great honor for ANES to continue in this intellectual tradition, and we would all like to thank the selection committee at AAPOR,” said Valentino. “[It is also important] to mention that the ANES staff is large and makes a huge contribution to the project’s success.”

The ANES is a collaboration of the University of Michigan and Stanford University, with Duke University and the University of Texas, and is funded by the National Science Foundation. AAPOR has offered the Policy Impact Award annually since 2004. Last year’s winners were the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) and the National Study of Caregiving (NSOC); previous honorees include the U.S. Census Bureau, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the RAND Corporation, and the Urban Institute.

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