The Voter Study is the central part of the European Election Studies. This component was carried out in all waves except 1984, but even for this European Parliament Elections data regarding the European Elections are available as part of the Eurobarometer 21 and Eurobarometer 22. These studies are generally post-election surveys which are carried out immediately after the European Parliament Elections. However, the 1979 Voter Study, 1989 Voter Study, and 1994 Voter Study also include a pre-electoral component.
The format of the Voter study substantially varied across the different studies. Thus the 1979 Voter Study is available as part of the regular Eurobarometer (EB) survey. The 1989 Voter Study and the 1994 Voter Study are also conducted in a framework of the Eurobarometers, with the important addendum that the for each of these two studies the components of three different EB surveys were integrated into a single EES data set. The 1999 Voter Study was the first one to be separated from Eurobarometer surveys, it consisted of a telephone survey of voters conducted in each of the then 15 member countries of the EU. The 2004 Voter Study continued the logic of the 1999 Voter study, with representative surveys being carried out in 24 of the 25 EU member states. The 2009 Voter Study was conducted under the PIREDEU framework; it consisted of a survey carried out among representative samples of enfranchised citizens in all of the then 27 member states of the EU (n≈1000 realized interviews per country). The 2014 Voter Study again realized a representative survey (administered by way of face-to-face interviews) in each of the now 28 member country.
In spite of the studies’ unique emphasis on particular aspects of European elections and the contexts within which they take place, each of these studies is designed along similar principles having a large number of identical questions. Therefore, the six European Election Studies Voter Studies of 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 offer not only ample opportunities for comparisons across political systems but for longitudinal comparison as well.
To facilitate the longitudinal comparison a European Election Study (EES) Trend File covering the four voter studies from 1989 to 2004. The data and documentation can be downloaded from the website of Michael Marsh and Slava Mikhaylov at Trinity College Dublin.