UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

British Election Study, 2015: Face-to-Face Post-Election Survey

Title details

SN: 7972
Title: British Election Study, 2015: Face-to-Face Post-Election Survey
Alternative title: BES
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-7972-1
Series: British Election Study [British Election Studies, 1969-]
Depositor: Fieldhouse, E., University of Manchester. School of Social Sciences
Principal investigator(s): Fieldhouse, E., University of Manchester. School of Social Sciences
Green, J., University of Manchester. School of Social Sciences
Evans, G., University of Oxford. Nuffield College
Schmitt, H., University of Manchester. School of Social Sciences
van der Eijk, C., University of Nottingham. School of Social Studies
Mellon, J., University of Oxford. Nuffield College
Prosser, C., University of Manchester
Data collector(s): GfK
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Grant number: ES/K005294/1


The citation for this study is:

Fieldhouse, E., Green, J., Evans, G., Schmitt, H., van der Eijk, C., Mellon, J., Prosser, C. (2016). British Election Study, 2015: Face-to-Face Post-Election Survey. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 7972,

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Subject Categories

Election and campaign studies - Politics
Election and campaign studies - Politics
Political behaviour and attitudes - Politics


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

British Election Study (BES)
BES series constitutes the longest academic series of nationally representative probability sample surveys in the country. Its broad aim is to explore the changing determinants of electoral behaviour in contemporary Britain. The surveys have taken place immediately after every general election since 1964.

The 2015 Study is themed Voters in Context and is designed to help our understanding of long-term political change, and the role of national and sub-national variations in the political and social context in shaping citizens' attitudes and behaviour. The survey tackles questions concerning key contemporary questions concerning political representation, accountability and engagement, and aims to help explain the fragmentation of party support in 2015.

Besides the main election surveys, other datasets have also been produced. For example, some studies have included separate sub-samples for ethnic minorities and areas such as Scotland and Northern Ireland (held at the UK Data Archive (UKDA) under SNs 681, 3171, 3889, 3891, and 4622), and several inter-election panel studies have been undertaken between 1969 and 2001 that follow the same individuals interviewed in the cross-sectional surveys (see SNs 422, 2983, 3888, 4000 4028 and 4620). The 2015 study also includes an internet panel which follows a separate sample of voters across six separate waves in 2014-2015, and continues forward into the next electoral cycle, please see British Election Study Data Website (this study will soon be available via UKDA).

Since the election series was originated in 1963 by David Butler and Donald Stokes under the name of Political Change in Britain, 1963-1970 (see under GN 33099), it has been under the direction of a number of academics over time.

British Election Study 2015 Face-to-Face Post-Election Survey
The BES 2015 Face-to-Face Post-Election Survey is an address-based random probability sample study of eligible voters living in 600 wards in 300 Parliamentary Constituencies in England, Scotland, and Wales; 2,987 people completed the survey.

The fieldwork was conducted by GfK between May 8th 2015 and September 13th 2015 and achieved an overall response rate of 55.9%. The face-to-face dataset also includes a self-completion Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) module that was answered by 1,567 respondents.

Full details of the methodology and fieldwork are available in the technical report that accompanies the data release. Full details of the questionnaire can be found in the codebook which also accompanies the data release.

For more information please visit British Election Study Website.

Main Topics:
Topics covered in the post-election survey include: issues facing the country, electoral behaviour and attitudes toward voting, party identify, views on taxation, government spending, economy/national debt, leaders, immigration, European Union and the NHS, media usage, political engagement, campaigning, politicians and trust, values, likelihood of voting for each party, political participation, social class system, political knowledge and demographics.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: 08 May 2015 - 13 September 2015
Country: Great Britain
Spatial units: Government Office Regions
Super Output Areas (Lower Layer)
Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Alpha/numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
British Electorate (eligible voters)
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
Sampling procedures: Multi-stage stratified random sample
See documentation for details.
Number of units: 2,987 cases
Method of data collection: Face-to-face interview; Self-completion
Weighting: Weighting used. See documentation for details.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 17 May 2016
Copyright: Copyright E. Fieldhouse, J. Green, G. Evans, H. Schmitt, C. van der Eijk, J. Mellon and C. Prosser
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required. Available to all registered users. The depositor may be informed about usage.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
Codebook: Questionnaires, Showcards and Derived Variables 7972_bes_2015_f2f_ukda_codebook.pdf 1335
Technical Report, 2015 7972_bes_2015_technical_report.pdf 659
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_7972_Information.htm 7
READ File read7972.htm 10
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By principal investigator(s):
British Election Study, (1974) The British Election Study panel sample 1974: methodological study, June.

British Election Study, (1974) The British Election Survey: technical document, July.

Crewe, I., Sarlvik, B. and Alt, J., (1974) `The why and how of the February voting', New Society, 12 September.

Crewe, I., Sarlvik, B. and Alt, J., (1974) The flow of the vote 1970 February 1974 - October 1974.

Sarlvik, B., Crewe, I. and Alt, J., (1974) Class and Party in the elections of 1974.

Crewe, I., Sarlvik, B. and Alt, J., The decline of the two-party system, paper presented to Political Studies Association Conference, Oxford, March 1975.

British Election Study, (1975) The British Election Study of October 1974: methodological report, April.

British Election Study, (1975) The British Referendum Survey: a report on fieldwork for the Referendum Recall Study, August.

Fox, A., (1975) `Attitudes to immigration: a comparison of data from the 1970 and 1974 general election surveys', New Community Vol. IV (2), Summer.

Miller, W., (1975) Series of articles on the special Scottish surveys, The Scotsman, October 10 and 12.

Sarlvik, B., et al, (1976) `Britain's membership of the EEC: a profile of electoral opinions in the spring of 1974 - with a postscript on the referendum', European Journal of Political Science Vol. 4 (1), March, pp.83-113.

Fox, A. and Alt, J., The reliability of occupational coding, paper presented to SSRC Seminar on Longitudinal Studies, Cambridge, March 1976.

Crewe, I., Sarlvik, B. and Alt, J., The erosion of partisanship 1964 - 1975, paper presented to the Political Studies Association Conference, Nottingham, March 1976.

Alt, J., Personal well-being and economic trends in Britain, paper presented to ECPR Workshop on Protest, Dissatisfaction and Change, ECPR Joint Sessions, Louvain-la-Neuve, April 1976.

Alt, J., Sarlvik, B. and Crewe, I., (1976) `Partisanship and policy choice: issue preferences in the British electorate, February 1974', British Journal of Political Science, 6(3), July.

Alt, J., Sarlvik, B. and Crewe, I., (1976) `Individual differences scaling and group attitude structures', Quantity and Quality, Vol.10, December.

Crewe, I., Sarlvik, B. and Alt, J., (1976) `The election of February 1974' IN R. Rose (ed.), Studies in British Politics, 3rd edition, London: Macmillan.

Crewe, I., Fox, A. and Alt, J., (1977) `Non-voting in British general elections 1966 - October 1974' IN C. Crouch (ed.), British Political Sociology Yearbook: Vol. III, Political Participation, London: Croom Helm.

Miller, W., (1977) `The connection between SNP voting and the demand for Scottish self government', The European Journal of Political Research, 5(1), March.

Crewe, I., Sarlvik, B. and Alt, J., (1977) `Partisan dealignment in Britain 1964 - 1974', British Journal of Political Science, 7(2), April.

Alt, J., Crewe, I. and Sarlvik, B., (1977) `Angels in plastic: Liberal support in 1974', Political Studies, 25(3), September.

Crewe, I. and Sarlvik, B., (1979) `The Conservative Party and the electorate', IN T.L. Henry (ed.), Conservative Party politics, London: Macmillan.

Alt, J.E., (1979) The politics of economic decline, Cambridge University Press.

Crewe, I.M. and Sarlvik, B., (1979) `Popular attitudes and electoral strategy' IN Z. Layton-Henry (ed.), Conservative Party politics, London: Macmillan.

Crewe, I.M., (1980) `Why the Conservatives Won', in H. Penniman (ed.), Britain at the Polls, American Enterprise Institute.

Crewe, I.M., Negative partisanship: some preliminary ideas using British data, Paper presented to European Consortium for Political Research, Florence, March, 1980.

Crewe, I.M., (1980) `Prospects for party realignment: an Anglo-American comparison' Comparative Politics, 12(4), July.

Crewe, I.M., The electoral decline of the Labour Party, paper presented to Conference on the Politics of the Labour Party, Nuffield College, Oxford, September 1980.

British Election Study, (1980) A comparison of respondent's characteristics with known population parameters, Technical paper 1980:1.

British Election Study, (1980) The British Election Study, May 1979 questionnaire, Technical paper 1980:2.

British Election Study, (1981) A description of surveys conducted by the BES Research Project, Technical paper 1981:1.

British Election Study, (1981) Questionnaire continuity guide, Technical paper 1981:2.

Crewe, I.M., (1981) `The Labour Party and the electorate', in D.A. Kavanagh (ed.), The politics of the Labour Party, London: Allen Unwin.

Sarlvik, B., Crewe, I.M., and Robertson, D., Why the parties were liked and disliked in the 1979 Election: an analysis of `Free Answer' survey data, paper presented to the Political Studies Association Conference, Hull, April 1981.

Crewe, I.M., Electoral Volatility in Britain Since 1945, paper presented to the European Consortium for Political Research, Lancaster, 1981.

Crewe, I.M., Party and the public, paper presented to the Hansard Society/American Enterprise Institute Conference on the Role of Political Parties, Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, May 1981.

Heath, A.F. and MacDonald, S-K., (1988) `The demise of party identification theory?' Electoral Studies, 7, pp.95-107.

Swaddle, K. and Heath, A. (1987) Official and reported turnout in the British General Election of 1987, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

Heath, A., (1991) Understanding political change : voting behaviour in Britain 1964-1987, Oxford: Pergamon.

Heath, A.F. and Pierce, R. (1992) 'It was party identification all along : question-order effects on reports of party identification in Britain' Electoral Studies, II.

Heath, A., et al, (eds.) (1993) Labour's last chance : the 1992 election and beyond, Aldershot: Dartmouth.

Heath, A., Jowell, R. and Curtice, J. (2001) The rise of New Labour: party policies and voter choices, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brook, L. and Taylor, B. (1996) British Election Panel Study 1992-95: Interim technical notes, CREST Working Paper 41.

Taylor, B., Heath, A. and Lynn, P. (1996) The British Election Panel Study 1992-95: Response characteristics and attrition, CREST Working Paper 40.

Surridge, P. et al, (1998) `The Scottish electorate and the Scottish parliament' Scottish Affairs special issue.

Saggar, S. (ed.) (1998) Race and British electoral politics, London: UCL Press.

Thomson, K., Park, A. and Brook, L. (1999) British General Election Study 1997: Cross-section Survey, Scottish Election Study, and Ethnic Minority Election Study, London: National Centre for Social Research.

Sanders, D., Clarke, H., Stewart, M.C. and Whiteley, P. (2010) 'Simulating the effects of the Alternative Vote in the 2010 UK General Election', Parliamentary Affairs, 64(1), pp.5-23.

Whiteley, P., Clarke, H., Sanders, D., and Stewart, M.C. (2010) 'Government performance and life satisfaction in contemporary Britain', Journal of Politics, 27(3), pp. 733-746.

Whiteley, P., Clarke, H., Sanders, D., and Stewart, M.C. (2010) 'Do institutions really influence participation? Contextual influences on turnout and participation in the world’s democracies', International Journal of Market Research, 52(1), pp.21-42.

Whiteley, P., Clarke, H., Sanders, D., and Stewart, M.C. (2010) 'Polling and forecasting the General Election of 2010', International Journal of Market Research, 52(5), pp.687-691.

Sanders, D., Clarke, H., Stewart, M.C. and Whiteley, P. (2011) 'Downs, Stokes and the dynamics of electoral choice', British Journal of Political Science, 41(2), pp.287-314.

Whiteley, P., Clarke, H., Sanders, D., and Stewart, M.C. (2011) 'Britain says NO: Voting in the AV ballot referendum', Parliamentary Affairs, November, pp.1-22.

Clarke, H., Sanders, D., Stewart, M.C. and Whiteley, P. (2013) Campaigning for change – the dynamics of electoral choice in Britain, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Resulting from secondary analysis:
Taylor-Gooby, P. (1987) `Welfare attitudes : cleavage, consensus and citizenship' The Quarterly Journal of Social Affairs, 3(3), pp.199-211.

Rabinowitz, G., Macdonald, S.E. and Listhaug, O., Competing theories of issue voting : is discounting the explanation?, paper prepared for delivery at the Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association, Washington DC, September 2-5 1993.

Baker, J.R., Looking at Legislatures : citizens' knowledge and perceptions of legislatures in Canada, Great Britain and the United States, paper prepared for delivery at the 16th International Congress of the International Political Science Association (RC8:2), Berlin, August 21-25 1994.

Baker, J.E. et al (1996) `Citizens' knowledge and perceptions of legislatures in Canada, Britain and the United States' The Journal of Legislative Studies, 2(2), pp.44-62.

Kobori, M. (1996) `A study on the North-South divide in Britain of 80s : with reference to the difference of Labour's votes between the North and South' Ryudai Law Review, 56, May, pp.72-104.

Bennett, S., Flickinger, R., and Rhine, S. Political talk - over here, over there and over time : a comparative analysis of who talks about politics in Britain and the United States, 1959-1994, paper presented to the International Society of Political Psychology meeting, Vancouver, June 30th-July 3rd 1996.

Evans, G. and Norris, P. (1999) Critical elections: British parties and voters in long-term perspective, London: Sage Publications.

Tunstall, H. et al (2000) 'Geographical scale, the 'feel-good factor' and voting at the 1997 general election in England and Wales' Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 25, p.51-64.

Dardanelli, P. (2001) The Europeanisation of regionalisation: European integration and public support for self-government in Scotland 1979/1997, Queen's Papers on Europeanisation, No. 5/2001, London School of Economics.

Skrondal, A. and Rabe-Hesketh, S. (2003) 'Multilevel logistic regression for polytomous data and rankings' Psychometrika, 68(2), pp.267-287.

A subset of BES 1997 data has been used for the following textbook:
Tarling, R. (2008) Statistical modelling for social researchers: principles and practice, Oxford: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-44840-6. The book's companion web site includes downloadable datasets and further information: retrieved 26 January, 2009, from

Steven, M. (2010) Christianity and party politics: keeping the faith, London: Routledge, December. ISBN 978-0-415-55660-6.

Upton, G.J.G. (2016) Categorical data analysis by example, Oxford: Wiley. ISBN: 978-1-119-30786-0.


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