The 1987 Australian Election Study

Activity TypeProject
Group AffiliationAustralian Election Study
TitleThe 1987 Australian Election Study
Alternate TitleAustralian Election Study 1987
Funding BodyThe Australian National University
Date activity began1987
Date the activity ended1987
Brief DescriptionThe Australian Election Study (AES) is a national, post-election, self-completion survey which collects data on the political opinions and behaviour of the Australian public.
Full DescriptionThe Australian Election Study (AES) is designed to collect data for academic 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 survey has been carried out since 1987, and builds on the data collected earlier in the 1967, 1969 and 1979 Australian Political Attitudes Surveys.

The AES aims to provide a long-term perspective on stability and change in the political attitudes and behaviour of the Australian electorate, to investigate the changing social bases of Australian politics as the economy and society modernise and change character, and to examine the political issues prevalent in the election and assess their importance for election results.

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.

For the 1987 study sample, a systematic random sample of 2762 cases covering all States and Territories except South Australia was provided by the Australian Electoral Office from its computerised electoral roll. A supplementary sample of 299 cases was selected manually from the alphabetical list of electors in South Australia by microfiche.
Respondents were mailed on the Monday following the federal election. The survey remained in the field for about 8 weeks; the bulk of the responses were received following Waves 1 and 2.
Wave 1: Questionnaire, letter Week 1
Wave 2: Thank you/reminder postcard Week 2
Wave 3: Questionnaire, letter Week 5
Wave 4: Final letter, Week 7

The fourth and final wave elicited comparatively few extra responses and was not considered cost-effective; it was not used in the post-1987 surveys.

Contact AddressSchool of Politics and International Relations
Research School of Social Sciences
Building 22, Haydon-Allen Building
The Australian National University
ACT 0200 Australia
Contact Phone Number+61 (0)2 6125 5553
Contact Fax Number+61 (0)2 6125 3051
Website Address
Fields of Research1606 - Political Science
160601 - Australian Government and Politics
Socio-Economic Objective9402 - Government and Politics
KeywordsEconomic policy
Social classes
Social problems
Social policy
Political parties
Voting behavior
Public opinion
Type of Research ActivityPure basic research

Identifier Type
Uniform Resource Identifier
Identifier Value
Publication Reference
Ian McAllister and Juliet Clark. 2007. Trends in Australian Political Opinion: Results from the Australian Election Study, 1987-2004. Canberra: Australian Social Science Data Archive.

Identifier Type
International Standard Book Number
Identifier Value
Publication Reference
Ian McAllister and John Warhurst, editors. 1988. Australia Votes: The 1987 Federal Election. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire. xi + 267pp.

Related Websites
URLTitle Election Study used in the 1987 Australian Electoral Study survey Election Study, 1987 - Codebook Australian Election Study: An overview - by Ian McAllister
Status: Published
Published To:
- Australian National Data Service
- Australian National University
Identifier: anudc:3321
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