About NAES08-Online

The National Annenberg Election Survey 2008 Online Edition (NAES08-Online) is a large-scale public opinion survey conducted via the Internet and designed to track the dynamics of political attitudes, perceptions, and behavior over the 2008 US primary and general presidential election campaigns. It is a companion to the National Annenberg Election Survey 2008 Phone Edition (NAES08-Phone), a telephone-based survey that was conducted during an overlapping field period and asked many of the same or comparable questions.

NAES08-Online consists of interviews with a nationally representative random sample of 28,985 respondents, covering a range of topics about the presidential campaign and politics generally, including candidates and political figures, current policy issues, media use, campaign discourse, political participation, and voting behavior. A section of questions about social groups focused on perceptions of race and gender in US society.

NAES08-Online is a panel survey. The main set of interviewing was conducted from October 2007 through January 2009, and the majority of respondents were interviewed multiple times during this period. Interviewing was segmented into five multi-month waves, numbered 1 – 5 and corresponding to the major divisions of the campaign: pre-primary, primary election, spring and summer, general election, and post-election. All participants in a wave were invited to be reinterviewed for all subsequent waves; among the 28,985 NAES08-Online respondents, 23,033 participated in at least two NAES waves, and 10,472 participated in all five NAES waves. Respondents also participated in up to two profile waves to provide demographic and other background information.

The questionnaires for Waves 1 – 5 were updated as needed to stay current with the campaign. However, many questions remained constant throughout the survey and were asked in multiple waves, permitting analysis of these measures at multiple points in time for individual respondents.

The respondent sample was assembled dynamically over the survey period, and at each wave, some respondents were invited to participate who had not been invited for previous waves. This design maintained an adequate sample size over the course of the panel, accounting for attrition as respondents voluntarily left the panel or declined participation in particular waves. In addition, it is possible to analyze the data for potential conditioning effects of panel tenure.

Independent of the panel design of NAES08-Online, each wave constitutes a rolling cross-section survey with daily interviewing. Invitations to take NAES surveys were issued daily throughout a wave, and respondents were permitted a fixed period in which to accept the invitation, in order to randomly distribute interviews over the wave. In general, an average of 50 to almost 300 interviews were completed daily, with the volume of survey invitations and completions higher during peak campaign periods. The data can be subset by interviewing date or used sequentially for time-series analysis.

The sample of respondents interviewed for NAES08-Online was drawn from KnowledgePanel, a random sample of US households who agree to complete periodic Internet-based surveys on a variety of topics, and which is maintained by Knowledge Networks. KnowledgePanel members were initially recruited by random-digit telephone dialing, and households were provided Internet access to participate in KnowledgePanel if they did not already have it. These features make KnowledgePanel nationally representative, and inclusive of households with and without Internet access.

The National Annenberg Election Survey is a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania, which designed and managed the NAES08-Online survey.

APPC provides the NAES surveys as a service to scholars and professionals. We ask that published analysis of the NAES credit the National Annenberg Election Survey of The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Further reading:

  • Johnston, R. Modeling campaign dynamics on the web in the 2008 National Annenberg Election Survey. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties 2008;18(4):401 – 412.
  • Romer, D., et al. Capturing Campaign Dynamics, 2000 and 2004: The National Annenberg Election Survey. University of Pennsylvania: 2006.