Sampling people or people in places? The BES as an election study

Ron Johnston*, Richard Harris, Kelvyn Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Electoral surveys conducted as part of the regular series of British Election Studies have used a stratified, clustered sampling design. This is constructed to ensure a nationally representative sample of voters (after weighting) but does not necessarily ensure a representative sample of the different social areas within the country. Much recent work has indicated the important role of local social and electoral milieux in the structuring of electoral behaviour but these are not reflected in the sampling design. An analysis of the geography of the face-to-face pre-election component of the 2005 BES shows not only that it was unrepresentative of certain types of area (defined using bespoke neighbourhood data) but also that it was less representative of such areas than the two (larger) internet samples (pre- and post-election) also undertaken as part of the 2005 BES. This suggests the need to reconsider the nature of the sample designs (even the entire survey methodology) to be deployed at future election studies in Great Britain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-112
Number of pages27
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Sampling people or people in places? The BES as an election study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this