Data enabled social science research has key part to play in making decisions that can effect on peoples’ lives and society. Collecting together the right data, curating and structuring it carefully to answer social science research questions quickly and effectively enables research to inform changes in public policy and institutions or social attitudes.

Political science research for example has demonstrated that perceived economic deprivation and high immigration encourages dissatisfaction with democracy and encourages support for far right groups, but little is known about variation in perception across time or geographical location, or by exposure to different types of media. To enable political science researchers to address this question, data needs to be brought together from various sources such as:

  • public opinion

  • group membership

  • geographical location

  • national and regional changes in macro-economic conditions

  • mainstream and social media use

The data assets created through the ANZLEAD project integrate data on citizens and political elites, and within a cross-time context (see Figure 1).

In the ANZLEAD project datasets together from multiple sources have been analysed to ascertain how the data they contain can be modelled. Partner collections in the ANZLEAD project are listed below.

The Australian Election Study (AES) is the leading study of political attitudes and behaviour in Australia. The study has surveyed voters for 35 years, since 1987, providing an unparalleled source of evidence on voter attitudes towards politics in Australia. The AES provides insights into what explains voters’ choices in elections as well as public opinion on a range of policy issues. In addition to providing a long-term perspective on stability and change in the Australian electorate, the AES examines the issues and personalities in each election and evaluates their importance in shaping election results.

ANUPoll is a quarterly survey of Australian public opinion. The topic of each survey is an issue of national importance.

The ANUPoll differs from other opinion polls by placing public opinion in a broad policy context, and by benchmarking Australia against international opinion. The ANUpoll is also able to follow trends in opinions over many decades.

The New Zealand Election Study (NZES) has been monitoring New Zealand’s democratic process over eleven successive elections, focusing on the transition between the first past the post (FPP) and the new Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system. Data is gathered through questionnaires sent to registered electors following each election, focusing on voting choices, political opinions, and social and demographic characteristics.

The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) is a key source of data for studying Australian social attitudes, beliefs, and opinions. It helps researchers understand Australians’ thoughts and feelings, compares them with other societies, and aims to discover the range of Australian views on important topics. AuSSA is part of the International Social Survey Project (ISSP), a cross-national collaboration on surveys covering important topics.