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voter survey questionnaire
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Posted 25/4/2008 12:01 (#24)
Subject: voter survey questionnaire

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Posts: 1

Based on Slovakia┬┤s experience in 2004 EP election when we have had 17% voters and 83% absentees I would suggest to add also question/s about the reasons for non-voting. Also - does it make sense to ask a re-call question about voting behaviour in the previous EP election? I am not sure if respondents would remember... Olga
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Posted 15/6/2008 20:05 (#68 - in reply to #24)
Subject: RE: voter survey questionnaire


Posts: 11

We certainly should consider additional questions regarding turnout, but it seems to me that asking people why they vote seldom yields anything very helpful. Those who vote are likely to mention motivations such as civic duty, but those who do not vote never mention lacking civic duty! So it seems quite possible that duty is just a convenient explanation for behaviour that voters might otherwise find hard to explain. But I would not rule out someone coming up with a question that actually did illuminate what was going on.
Regarding Olga's puzzle about Slovakia, it seems to me that she herself explained it quite convincingly to me when we met in Lisbon two years ago, on the basis of voter fatigue after three closely-spaced elections. That is an hypothesis that can be addressed without asking voters anything (though it might be possible to craft an illuminating question on this topic).
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Posted 16/7/2008 16:56 (#99 - in reply to #24)
Subject: RE: voter survey questionnaire

Posts: 26
Location: University of Oxford, UK
Dear Olga,

Thank you for submitting this proposal to the Open Forum. The PIREDEU Steering Committee met at the end of June to evaluate each of the proposals. We assessed them on the basis of whether they met the following criteria:

* An explicit argument about why the proposed question/coding category merited inclusion in one or more of the PIREDEU data components.

* An explicit argument about the conceptual and theoretical foundations of the question/coding category.

* An explicit case for how the question/coding category facilitates integration and linking of several data components. The PIREDEU Steering Committee preferred proposals that allowed for conceptual integration across the five data components (i.e. voter survey, candidate survey, media study, manifestos and contextual data).

* An explicit consideration of how the proposed question/coding category linked with questions/coding categories in past data collection efforts.

The PIREDEU Steering Committee favoured proposals that ensured over time and across instrument comparability. Moreover, given that the voter and candidate surveys can only contain a limited number of question items, priority was given to proposals with succinct question formats.

On this basis we ranked each question in the proposal as follows:

(1) The proposed item will be included in data collection instrument
(2) High priority proposal that will be included if space and time constraints permit
(3) Proposal can only be included if additional funding is secured
(4) Proposed item is not a priority

The item(s) from your proposal received the following ranking(s):

Question about the reasons for non-voting. 4

Rationale: The question on non-voting was considered but would replicate what was in previous Eurobarometer election studies, and was difficult to include in an efficient way in the survey instrument and, while an important concept in electoral surveys, did not meet the threshold for inclusion in the survey. Moreover, the Steering Committee agreed that it would be problematic to ask respondents to rationalize their behavioural motivations.

Thank you again for your participation in this process. We hope that you will continue to use the Open Forum to comment on the questionnaires/codebook that will be posted online on the Forum in the autumn.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Franklin
Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee

Sara Hobolt
Deputy Chair of the PIREDEU Steering Committee

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