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The British Election Study (BES/BGES) series constitutes the longest academic series of nationally representative probability sample surveys in the country. Its broad aim is to explore the changing determinants of electoral behaviour in contemporary Britain. The surveys have taken place immediately after every general election since 1964. Besides the main election surveys, other datasets have also been produced: British Election Study, 1974-1983, British General Election Study, 1983-1997, British Election Study, 2001, British Election Study, 2005.

Main Topics/Subject Category
Political preferences and values, economic perceptions, social attitudes, dispositions to engage in different forms of political activity, individual and household socio-demographic characteristics, voting, home ownership, ethnicity, economic activity, age of population.
Commonwealth, Great Britain, Republic of Ireland, abortion (induced), age, arts education, asians, assault, attitudes, black people, british political parties, businesses, canvassing, care of the sick, cars, censorship, central government, charitable organizations, child care, citizenship, class conflict, class size, clothing, conservative party (great britain), council tax, crime, cultural identity, cultural integration, currencies, customs and traditions, death penalty, decentralized government, decision making, defence, democracy, denominational schools, economic activity, economic competition, economic conditions, economic value, education, educational expenditure, educational finance, elderly, election campaigns, elections, electoral records, electoral systems, electors, employees, employers, employment, employment history, employment programmes, english as a foreign language, equal opportunity, equality before the law, ethnic groups, ethnic minorities, European union
Identifier Variables
County, Scottish regional councils, LA, parliamentary constituencies, standard regions, electoral ward
Area of Health System
Data Available
Socio-economic, Demographic
Data collecting organization (s)
University of Essex
Data Type
Survey (longitudinal)
Coverage (date of field work)
1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Unit of Analysis

Pre-election: 3,589. Post-election: 2,959. 'One-year-out' internet follow-up: 931 adults aged 18 years and over (in 2005) living in private households in Great Britain, including a Scottish booster with addresses north of the Great Glen/Caledonian Canal.

UK Data Archive, ESDS longitudinal
Conditions of Access
Free registration access