Consolidating and Institutionalizing the Comparative National Election Project

Consolidating and Institutionalizing the Comparative National Election Project

Paul Beck
Richard Gunther

Principal Investigators: Richard Gunther and Paul Beck, Department of Political Science

The Comparative National Election Project (CNEP) is a partnership among scholars who have conducted election surveys across the democratic world. Founded in the late 1980s, it now includes 41 surveys from 1990 to 2015 in 24 different countries on 5 continents, with multiple election surveys in 11 countries. CNEP-based surveys are projected in up to eight future elections.

At their core, the CNEP surveys focus on common questions on the following research topics: personal discussion networks, use of the mass media (television, newspapers, radio, and various electronic sites), political information from associations, contacts by political parties, socio-political values, attitudes towards democracy, civic participation, the integrity of the electoral process, and voting behavior in the most recent election.

In addition, standard demographic and voting behavior variables also are a part of the CNEP surveys. As the project has evolved over time, new question modules have been added to capture important aspects of elections in the new member countries and to reflect broadened theoretical perspectives.

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

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

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University is the host for the CNEP website. The center has generously sponsored some of these surveys and research conferences focused on them. The website contains each of the original country surveys and questionnaires; a data set that merges the common questions from the first 26 surveys (through 2008) into a cross-national file of over 45,000 respondents; and various descriptions of the project and its partners.

As the surveys conducted since 2008 are processed, they will be added to the merged cross-national file. The 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 the CNEP website at


Richard Gunther, Professor Emeritus of Political Science
Paul Beck, Emeritus Professor and Academy Professor of Political Science