About the Comparative National Elections Project

The Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP) is a partnership among scholars who have conducted election surveys across the democratic world. Founded in the late 1980s, it now includes 59 surveys from 1990 to 2019 in 28 different countries on 5 continents, with multiple election surveys in 16 countries. Additional CNEP-based surveys are currently under way.

CNEP logo

The geographical scope and theoretical concerns of the CNEP have substantially evolved over the past three decades.  With roots than can be traced back to the very founding of modern electoral studies (by Paul Lazarsfeld, et al.), its initial research concerns focused on political intermediation processes (through personal discussion networks, the mass media, voluntary associations, and contacts with political parties) in four established democracies.  Addition to the project of several “Third Wave” democracies in CNEP II (1993-2003) was accompanied by an expansion of the core information-intermediation paradigm to explore in detail key aspects of democratic consolidation processes.  CNEP II further adapted the initial questionnaire to suit the research concerns associated with the study of new democracies by adding items measuring basic value orientations and other social cleavages that have commonly served as objects of political conflict and vehicles for electoral mobilization in many political systems.  Incorporation into the project of African, East Asian and Latin American democracies in CNEP III (2004-2009) led to a further broadening of the scope of our empirical analysis.  Among other things, it added to the core questionnaire items tapping into identity (especially national identity), citizen understandings of the meaning of democracy, and assessments of the quality of democracy.  With the addition to the project of a number of non-democratic or illiberal-democratic countries (e.g., China, Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Turkey and Kenya) in CNEP IV (2009 to the present), the geographical scope and theoretical concerns of the project have expanded to facilitate the further exploration of the themes listed above, as well as new research questions involving democratic deconsolidation, the rise of populist parties, “fake news,” and the rapidly evolving impact of the internet.

At present, CNEP includes surveys in the following places (and elections):

  • Argentina (2007)
  • Bulgaria (1996)
  • Chile (1993, 2000, 2017)
  • China, local elections (2008)
  • Colombia (2014, 2018)
  • Dominican Republic (2010)
  • France (2017)
  • Germany (1990, 2017)
  • Great Britain (1992, 2017)
  • Greece (1996, 2004, 2015)
  • Hong Kong (1998, 2015)
  • Hungary (1998, 2006)
  • Indonesia (1999, 2004, 2009, 2014, 2019)
  • Iran (2016)
  • Italy (1996, 2006, 2013, 2018)
  • Japan (1993)
  • Kenya (2013)
  • Mexico (2006, 2012, 2018)
  • Mozambique (2004)
  • Portugal (2005, 2015, 2019)
  • Russia (2016)
  • South Africa (2004, 2009, 2014, 2019)
  • Spain (1993, 2004, 2011, 2015)
  • Taiwan (2004, 2016)
  • Turkey (2014)
  • Ukraine (2019)
  • United States (1992, 2004, 2012, 2016)
  • Uruguay (1994, 2004)

The Ohio State University is the host for this CNEP website, and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at OSU has generously sponsored some of these surveys and research conferences focused on them. The website contains each of the original country surveys and questionnaires; two data sets that merge the common questions from the individual-country data sets; and various descriptions of the project and its partners.

Data sets are located on two different pages in this website.  Data from surveys conducted through 2015 are freely available to the general public, as are data from the 2018 Mexican election and a merged file containing data from 37 national election surveys.  These can be downloaded from the website page called “Publicly Available Surveys.”  Most of the surveys conducted within the past five years have been reserved in a password-protected file for use by the CNEP principal investigators located in over two dozen countries.  As each data set reaches the end of the fifth year of this embargo, it will be transferred into the publicly available file for general use.

This website also lists numerous publications that have resulted from the individual country studies and from cross-national analyses of their data. Two edited books have been produced by CNEP partners: Gunther, Montero, and Puhle (eds.), Democracy, Intermediation, and Voting on Four Continents (Oxford, 2007); and Gunther, Beck, Magalhães, and Moreno (eds.) Voting in Old and New Democracies (Routledge, 2016).

Richard Gunther and Paul Beck, both of the Department of Political Science and the Mershon Center at Ohio State, are currently the co-directors of CNEP and the administrators of this website. If you have questions about CNEP and its research efforts, please contact them at gunther.1@osu.edu or beck.9@osu.edu.


Posted by Richard Gunther August 21, 2019.