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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Dick GuntherPaul A. Beck William "Chip" Eveland Erik NisbetWilliam Liddle

Principal Investigators:
Dick Gunther, Department of Political Science
Paul Beck, Departments of Political Science and Sociology, School of Communication
William "Chip" Eveland, School of Communication, Department of Political Science
Erik Nisbet, School of Communication, Department of Political Science
William Liddle, Department of Political Science

The Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP) is a multi-year, multi-country examination of citizen voting behavior and political attitudes in democracies around the world.

In addition to the conventional factors that explain voting decisions, it has pioneered a focus on the communication processes through which voters receive information about policies, parties and candidates during election campaigns, along with more intensive analyses of sociopolitical values, and differing understandings of and support for democracy.

CNEP involves five Mershon Center faculty (Richard Gunther, Paul Beck, Chip Eveland, Erik Nisbet, and Bill Liddle) as well as more than two dozen researchers in other countries.

The first edited book from this project, Democracy, Intermediation, and Voting on Four Continents, was published by Oxford University Press in 2007. The second, Voting in Old and New Democracies, edited by Richard Gunther, Paul A. Beck, Pedro Magalhães, and Alejandro Moreno, is scheduled for publication by Routledge in 2015.

With support from grants by the Mershon Center and European Union, researchers met last spring in Marrakech, Morocco, to hammer out the research agenda and questionnaire design for their next round of surveys, initiate the themes for new cross-national research teams, and plan the project’s next round of publications. At the Marrakech meeting, a number of decisions were made that will greatly enhance the Mershon Center’s visibility as the principal institutional supporter of this ground-breaking project.

The project website will be moved from the University of Lisbon to Ohio State, and all data standardization, file building, and data archiving will be transferred from the University of Cape Town. This centralization will streamline the administration of this project under the leadership of Mershon faculty Richard Gunther and Paul Beck.

CNEP is rapidly expanding, and is now the second largest cross-national electoral survey project in the world. Its merged data set of more than 45,000 personal interviews is based on 26 surveys conducted on five continents.

It will soon expand with the addition of data from recent electoral studies or surveys currently being conducted in Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey and Uruguay. Other countries are expected to be added in future years.