New data from the British Election Study are now available. The data are based on an online sample of over 20,000 people surveyed between 20th February and 9th March 2014. More information about the first survey can be found here. The BES is one of the longest running election studies world-wide and the longest running social science survey in the UK. It has made a major contribution to the understanding of political attitudes and behaviour over fifty years.
The 2015 BES is run by a consortium the Universities of Manchester (Professor Ed Fieldhouse, Professor Jane Green and Professor Hermann Schmitt), Oxford (Professor Geoffrey Evans, Nuffield College) and Nottingham (Professor Cees van der Eijk). The new British Election Study data are free to download here (please use the survey weights when analysing the data). The data comprise the first wave of the BES Internet Panel Study which follows the same survey respondents between 2014 and 2017, building on a long history of BES surveys dating from 1964. A new tool will be available this summer to allow anyone to explore new BES data here on the BES website.
The 2015 BES team offer insights based upon recent analysis of the first wave of 2015 BES data:
Professor Ed Fieldhouse discusses the north-south divide in British politics and how this is reminiscent of the 1980s, both in terms of political support and in terms of the economic and political context. Read more here.
Professor Jane Green highlights the transmission of UKIP support from the European Parliament election to the 2015 general election. This transmission is likely to be much higher than in previous European Parliament elections. Read more here.
Professor Cees van der Eijk reveals how voters hold multiple preferences towards parties with different tendencies to switch between them. Approximately 1 in every 5 people who currently state they will vote UKIP in the European elections can switch because there is another party that is equally or almost equally attractive to them. This figure is 1 in 10 for those who intend to vote for the Conservatives. Read more here.
Professor Hermann Schmitt examines three explanations for not turning out to vote in European Parliament elections. He finds that it is attention to politics that explains the decision to turnout and that eurosceptic attitudes have little effect. Read more here.