Data: Explore Voter Attitudes

In 2009, a team of News21 journalism fellows analyzed data about the American electorate from the American National Election Studies 2008 Time Series Study, which contains hundreds of questions posed to more than 2,000 voting-age citizens before and after the fall presidential election.

One goal of The New Voters project was to put key parts of the ANES online and allow people to compare voter attitudes on an array of questions.

 Reporting fellows Kelly Brooks, Michael Frost, Leonard Sparks and Christopher Matthews worked with consultants  to
identify interesting voting trends and develop simple interfaces for presenting them. The consulting team included Karen Kaufmann, associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, USA Today reporter Brad Heath, database developer Sergei Golitsinksi, and USA Today design developer Kristen Novak.

The team has two database interfaces in development that will roll out in the fall to allow people to explore the ANES 2008 Times Series Study results online, as explained below. Meantime, the team pulled several dozen questions from the ANES and created these two interfaces, allowing comparisons based on age, race and ethnicity:

Find the Generation Gap

The New Voters team analyzed how young voters differ from their elders.  Here are the results for a selection of issues covered by the ANES 2008 Times Series Study, divided into three categories – think, feel and participate.

Some of the bar charts include an innovation: Audio embedded in the bars.  The audio is from interviews that News21 reporters conducted with members of the youngest generation of voters, the Millennials.  The people interviewed were not the same ones surveyed by ANES.

Latinos, Blacks and Whites: You Compare

The New Voters team also looked at how voters vary by race and ethnicity.  Here are the same ANES survey questions used in the age comparison, this time with the responses sorted by race and ethnicity.


People Like Me (coming soon)

 The first of the two broader ANES data interfaces, "People Like Me," will go online in September. It will let people create a voter profile matching themselves or any group of voters by selecting up to two of five variables -- race, age, gender, education and income-- to  see how those voters' views compare to the national average on a selection of questions.

Voter Wild Cards (coming soon)

Later in the fall, a more advanced search interface will go online. The "Voter Wild Cards" will let people use keywords to search hundreds of questions from the ANES survey and compare how various groups of Americans answered them.