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DEMOS-Demokratisk og effektiv styring, planlegging og forvaltning

The Norwegian National Election Studies of 2017 and 2021

Alternative title: Den norske valgundersøkelsen i 2017 og 2021

Awarded: NOK 37.5 mill.

The Norwegian National Election Studies (NNES) is an ongoing research project, the main purposes of which are to analyze elections, election results, voter behavior, and voter attitudes over time. The 2017 and 2021 NNES will provide both continuity and innovation to Norwegian electoral research. We aim, first, to build on previous research and to provide continuity with respect to institutional affiliation, research design, data-collection methods, and analyses of voter behavior. We continue using a large-scale post-election survey as the main data source in the project. The main publication is a book in Norwegian that aims to combine high-quality research with accessible writing. The book from the 2017 election is entitled "Velgere og valgkamp; En studie av stortingsvalget 2017" (Voters and Election Campaigns: An analysis of the 2017 Parliamentary Election) and is edited by Johannes Bergh and Bernt Aardal. A second and equally important aim of the 2017 and 2021 NNES is to renew the field of election studies in Norway and to enable innovation in research questions, methods, and designs. Starting with the 2017 election, we introduce a campaign study as a regular part of the National Election Studies. In the 2021 election campaign, we expand this part of the project to include a qualitative diary study, in which voters can log their views and observations regarding the campaign. We also renew the study of election turnout, using experimental methods and data from the electronic electoral roll that the Norwegian government is gradually implementing and making available to researchers. A central task for the NNES-team in the last year has been to make plans for, and collect data in connection with the 2021 Norwegian parliamentary (Storting) election. We collect more data than in previous iterations of the NNES, and the planning-process has been thorough, involving researchers outside of the core NNES team. In February 2021, we conducted a series of five seminars with colleagues at the Institute for Social Research, the University of Oslo, the University of Tromsø, the University of Bergen, the University of Stavanger, NORCE, Norwegian Business School, Bjørknes University College and Kristiania University College. The seminars were useful both as an exchange of ideas, and as constructive feedback to the NNES team. Shortly afterward, we had an open call for suggestions for questions in the election study. We received seven proposals, six of which were partially or wholly included in the election study. The Norwegian National Election Study collects five different types of data in 2021: 1) The main election study is a post-election survey of voters, conducted in a similar manner to previous such surveys. It includes questions about voting, political attitudes, attitudes towards the parties, politicians, the government and political issues. A number of the questions have long time-series, stretching back to some of the earliest Norwegian election studies, while others, for instance those relating to topical political issues, and are new and unique to this year's study. The sampling for the main election study includes a rolling panel of voters, in which half of the sample come from the previous (2017) election study. Statistics Norway is responsible for the fieldwork. Substantial resources are invested in the survey, in part to boost response rates. Our goal is for the NNES to remain a "gold standard" survey of voters and political behavior in Norway. 2) The survey questionnaire from the collaborative project of election studies worldwide, Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), is fielded in a separate web-survey. This survey also includes a booster sample of voters with immigrant backgrounds. 3) The Election Campaign Study surveys the same sample of voters five times: once before the start of the campaign (in June), twice in the election campaign (August/September), once right after the election (September), and finally, 2-3 months after the election after a new government has been formed. This quantitative data-source is complimented by 4) a qualitative diary election study, in which voters write a diary about politics and the election in a cellphone app. 5) Finally, register data of voter turnout is a very large source of data on voters, which enables us to analyze the entire electorate, including small groups that are not sampled well in ordinary surveys. The NNES teams has published widely in the last year, both academic articles, book, and some non-academic publications, as can be seen from the publication list. NNES researchers are actively disseminating knowledge to the wider public through media appearances, especially around the time of the election. Researchers from the team are quoted 1385 times in written media in the last year, in addition to a large number of TV and radio appearances.

The aim of this proposal is to provide both continuity and innovation to the NNES. By the time of the 2017 parliamentary election, 60 years will have passed since the first Norwegian Election Study. This project, which is probably the longest-running social science project in Norway, has produced a large amount of data and knowledge on Norwegian politics and society in general. A key goal of our proposal is to build on this previous research and to provide continuity with respect to institutional affiliation, research design, data-collection methods, and analyses of voter behavior. We will continue using a large-scale post-election survey as the main data source in the project. The main publication will be a book in Norwegian that aims to combine high-quality research with accessible writing. This makes the book relevant for both students, academics, politicians, civil servants, journalists, and the general public. An equally important goal of our proposal is to renew the field of election studies in Norway and to enable innovation in research questions, methods, and designs. Starting with the 2017 election, we aim to introduce a campaign study as a regular part of the National Election Studies. This study will use new and innovative methods for the purpose of capturing the dynamics of election campaigns. We also propose a renewal of the study of election turnout, using experimental methods and data from the electronic electoral roll that the Norwegian government is gradually implementing and making available to researchers. In the upcoming 2017 election, we plan to conduct a study of rightwing populism and anti-immigrant mobilization. Finally, we need to be able to follow events as they happen, and to have resources available so that we can plan and execute new research efforts during the course of the project period.

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DEMOS-Demokratisk og effektiv styring, planlegging og forvaltning