Danish National Election Study (DNES)
The DNES has conducted nationwide representative election surveys after every Danish parliamentary election since 1971. The aim is to document and elucidate the main reasons for voter decisions. In addition to identifying key factors that influenced individual elections, the dataset offers a unique longitudinal view on Danish democracy, political opinions and societal changes over 50 years.
With a robust basis - a probability sample from the Danish Civil Registration System (CPR) – the data is linked to Statistics Denmark’s register data to deliver socio-demographic context on the 2,000 representative respondents.
What societal changes underpin the increasing electoral volatility seen in Denmark, across the EU and more broadly across western democracies? What are the variables in voter behaviour driving changing attitudes to the EU or fuelling the rise of populists? To what extent do demographic changes, attitudes to climate change, sustainable development, immigration, the spread of technological innovations, or national economic performance play a role in varying levels of support for various parties? How do these drivers of voter motivation relate to structural anchors of basic ideology, level of education, age, and gender?
These are examples of questions fundamental to liberal democracy that the Danish National Election Survey has answered over an unbroken period of 50 years, utilizing longitudinal, high quality electoral research data sourced from voting preferences at Danish parliamentary elections.
This proposal seeks funding to underpin the continued support of this vital research infrastructure, by facilitating the 19th consecutive round of the Danish National Election Study (DNES). The DNES is the longest running longitudinal survey in Denmark, and amongst the oldest in the world. The continuation of the survey through the next electoral cycle (with an election due by June 2023) is vital to maintain and consolidate Danish research leadership in this area in a period of major global political upheaval.
One of the core goals – and strengths – of the DNES is an ability to pick out descriptive inferences from the data collected. Careful sampling methodologies are vital to ensure robust scaling of conclusions from our sample to the broader Danish population. The DNES targets delivery of 2,000 fully completed voter interviews, with respondents drawn from a random sample from the Danish Civil Registration System (CPR).
Sampling from the Danish Civil Registration System makes it possible to link survey responses to social characteristics, and offers a full probability sample of the Danish population. Survey questions are spread across four categories. Some questions have been a continuous component of the survey over all elections; others have been asked for about 30 years, and others are unique to each election. The final category of questions are determined in part from DNES’ inclusion as a national node in international studies including the Monitoring Electoral Democracy (MEDem) ESFRI roadmap, the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) and the Comparative Candidate Survey (CCS).
The DNES methodology (in which survey data is linked to the national registers from Statistics Denmark) is novel to the Danish context and uniquely powerful in international election studies. Firstly, this linkage delivers reliable socio-economic parameters at an individual voter level, eliminating self-report biases. This is particularly relevant for variables such as education, income, wealth, and actual turnout. Secondly, and even more importantly, it allows us to cross-match household, wider family and neighborhood characteristics to the individual voter. Some of these key variables can even be linked to individuals and their social environment over a long time span, with data available as far back as 1980.
The DNES is the most downloaded survey from the Danish National Archive, and is extensively utilised by national and international academics, journalists and students. Each year, there are multiple published academic articles which apply the data, and numerous students at Danish Universities are awarded masters’ theses based on research based on the data. In addition, the data is used in cases in exams and ongoing research based teaching at all levels across all research institutions in Denmark. High schools also use the data in their work on parties and opinion formation in classes in social science.
There has been a very strong media interest in the DNES’ most recent work, with 200 hits in Infomedia for the book alone, for example. In addition, the book has been launched to the public at specific conference events in the Danish Parliament, at Aarhus University, and at the University of Copenhagen (all with more than 150 participants), together with detailed introductions to party groups in parliaments. The survey and its results have been discussed and presented widely across all major news media in Denmark.
The outputs from DNES are demonstrably and clearly of widespread and continued national interest, and of high national importance for the continued health of Danish democracy. A continuation of core research infrastructure funding for DNES will deliver a better understanding of the quality of electoral democracy in Denmark and across Europe for the Danish public – itself a valuable impact in a currently turbulent period for global or European politics.
The data will be used as the basis for the delivery of an edited peer-reviewed volume on the next national election, with special foci on the roles played by populism and climate change. The book will be subjected to a rigorous international peer-review process, and is contracted to be published by a leading Danish publisher (i.e. DJØF Forlag). All institutional participants in the project will contribute to the book. In addition, the project aims to produce discrete papers, with planned submission to high impact international journals (i.e. American Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, British Journal of Political Science, and Electoral Studies) and a contribution to International handbooks on voting behavior and Danish politics. In 2020 a book The Danish Voter, will be published by the University of Michigan Press, which utilises the entire data series from 1971 to the present day.
Oprør fra udkanten. Folketingsvalget 2015. Redigeret af Kasper Møller Hansen og Rune Stubager, København: Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag, 2017.
Krisevalg. Økonomien og folketingsvalget 2011. Redigeret af Rune Stubager, Kasper Møller Hansen og Jørgen Goul Andersen, København: Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag, 2013.
The Nordic Voter. Myths of Exceptionalism. Åsa Bengtsson, Kasper Møller Hansen, Ólafur Ϸ. Harðarson, Hanne Marthe Narud og Henrik Oscarsson, Colchester: ECPR Press, 2013.
Det nye politiske landskab. Folketingsvalget 2005 i perspektiv. Redigeret af Jørgen Goul Andersen, Ole Borre, Kasper Møller Hansen, Hans Jørgen Nielsen, Aarhus: Academica, 2007.
Danish National Election Study (DNES) has received funding from the Carlsberg Foundation
Project: Danish National Election Study (DNES)
Kasper Møller Hansen
Department of Political Science
Phone: +45 35 32 33 92
|Professor Rune Stubager||Aarhus University|