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Swedish National Election Studies

Social, Civic and Cultural Engagement
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Country Sweden
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Contact information

Soren Holmberg; Henrik Oscarsson
Department of Political Science University of Gothenburg
PO Box 711
Phone: +46 31 786 1227; +46 31 786 4666
Email: Henrik.Oscarsson(at); Soren.Holmberg(at)

Timeliness, transparency

Various dissemination channels: basic data provided close to finalised elections, while long term analysis may take up to one year.

Type of data

Registry + Survey

Type of Study

Longitude survey: long-term study of the same sample

Data gathering method

Telephone interview (CATI)

Face-to-face interview (CAPI, PAPI)

Access to data

Data available only for scientific purposes.

Conditions of access

Application, ethical considerations and formal agreement needed. Nominal costs.

Two to four months.

Anonymised microdata, aggregated tables.

The data set provided is compatible with Excel, SAS, SPSS, STATA, Text, etc

Information is also provided in English (see URL above). The Swedish National Election Studies are frequently collaborating with international scholars.


In all national elections since 1956 – including the ATP-referendum in 1957, the Nuclear Power-referendum in 1980, the EU-referendum in 1994, the Euro-referendum in 2003 and the European Parliament elections in 1995, 1999, 2004 and 2009 – a large representative sample of eligible voters has been interviewed. The basic design in the latest studies has been a rolling panel in which half of the sample has been interviewed in connection with the previous election, and the other half in connection with the succeeding election. In recent years, the sample size has been approximately 3,500- 4,000 and the response rate about 75 per cent. Svensk valundersökning – Swedish Parliament - Riksdagsval Svensk valundersökning 1956 Svensk valundersökning 1960 Svensk valundersökning 1964 Svensk valundersökning 1968 Svensk valundersökning 1970 Svensk valundersökning 1973 Svensk valundersökning 1976 Svensk valundersökning 1979 Svensk valundersökning 1982 Svensk valundersökning 1985 Svensk valundersökning 1988 Svensk valundersökning 1991 Svensk valundersökning 1994 Svensk valundersökning 1998 Svensk valundersökning 2002 Svensk valundersökning 2006 Svensk valundersökning - Referendum Folkomröstningsundersökningen 1957 Folkomröstningsundersökningen 1980 Folkomröstningsundersökningen 1994 Folkomröstningsundersökningen 2003 Svensk valundersökning – European Parliament Europaparlamentsvalundersökning 1995 Europaparlamentsvalundersökning 1999 Europaparlamentsvalundersökning 2004 Europaparlamentsvalundersökning 2009


age, sex, region

Combination of Registry, Random sample, and Official Statistics.

The whole country and use of territorial subunits.

Population aged 18 – 85

The central questions in an election study are always those on party preferences. Therefore, all surveys contain questions on: voting habits, party preferences, and voting in both current and previous elections. Voter participation is also checked using electoral registers. Other recurring questions cover political interest and party identification. Social background factors such as information about the respondents´ date of birth, sex, marital status, education, occupation and trade union affiliation are also available.

• Oscarsson, H., & Holmberg, S. “Swedish voting behavior.” Report 2011:4 of the Swedish National Election Studies Program. University of Gothenburg: Department of Political Science, Gothenburg (2011).


The Swedish election studies are among the most attractive data sets that are produced in the Swedish social sciences. Many researchers worldwide are publishing research which is based on Swedish National Election Studies, in particular, researchers using data from CSES (Comparative System of Electoral Systems).

The Swedish National Election Studies Program actively participates in Nordic, European and global networks, including NED (Nordic Research Group on Elections and Democracy;, EES (European Election Study;, The True European Voter (, CSES (Comparative Study of Electoral Systems;, CPPG (Comparative Party Pledges Group) and CCS (Comparative Candidate Survey; The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems "is a collaborative program of research among election study teams from around the world. Participating countries include a common module of survey questions in their post-election studies. The resulting data are deposited along with voting, demographic, district and macro variables. The studies are then merged into a single, free, public data set for use in comparative study and cross-level analysis." Relevant information can also be used from Swedish data sets.

Data quality

The Swedish National Election Studies Program was initiated by Jörgen Westerståhl and Bo Särlvik in the mid- 1950s, and the first studies were carried out in conjunction with the local elections in 1954 and the parliamentary election in 1956. In all parliamentary elections since 1956 - including the ATP-referendum in 1957, the Nuclear Power referendum in 1980, the EU-referendum in 1994 and the European Parliament Elections in 1995 and 1999 - a large representative sample of eligible voters has been interviewed. Since 1973, the basic design has been a rolling panel in which half of the sample has been interviewed in connection with the previous election, and the other half in connection with the succeeding election. The election studies have, with the exception of the 1976 study, come into being through a close collaboration between the Department of Political Science at Göteborg University and Statistics Sweden (SCB). The 1976 study was conducted by the Department of Political Science in Uppsala in collaboration with SCB. The Survey Research Centre of Statistics Sweden is responsible for the sampling, their permanent interview organisation performs the field work, and they also collect additional data from public registers.


The research project at the Department of Political Science is responsible for the general planning of the studies, the construction of the questionnaires, and the analysis and presentation of data. In 1956, respondents were interviewed twice, once before and once after election day. From the 1960 study onwards, with the exception of the 1970 study, field work has been carried out in two stages. The total sample is split into two subsamples of equal size. One subsample is contacted for personal interviews during the field work stage preceding the election. Respondents in this subsample are contacted again after election day through a short mail questionnaire. The primary purpose of this mail questionnaire is to obtain information about the final vote decision of these respondents. The second subsample is contacted for personal interview during the weeks immediately after the election. The 1970 election study differs from the others because the entire survey was carried out after election day. During this period, a great number of questions were asked. Some questions are repeated in all surveys, which makes it possible to study changes over a period of nearly fifty years, and there are also questions specific to one or two surveys. Provides good opportunities to follow political preferences and values over time. This research is part of broad international collaboration.

  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Kenneth Abrahamsson
  • (see Partners)