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British Election Study: February 1974, Cross-Section (ICPSR 7868)

Principal Investigator(s): Crewe, Ivor; Saerlvik, Bo; Alt, James


This data collection is part of a continuing series of surveys of the British electorate, begun by David Butler and Donald Stokes at Nuffield College, Oxford, in 1963, and continued at the University of Essex. This cross-section study was designed to yield a representative sample of eligible voters in Great Britain near the time of the general election on February 28, 1974. As with other surveys in the series, electors in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands were excluded from the sampling frame. Personal interviews with 2,462 members of the British electorate took place in two waves between March and May. Respondents answered questions relating to their attitudes toward the general election and the strength of their political opinions and interest. Respondents were asked about their trust in government and their opinions of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal, Scottish Nationalist, and Plaid Cymru political parties (e.g., perceived differences among them, and knowledge and perception of party position/record). Respondents were also asked to reveal their past voting behavior (e.g., their first and second choices in the general election, other parties considered, choices in the 1970 and 1966 elections, frequency of discussion about politics, and direction and strength of party identification). Respondents were then asked for their views on the general election results along a variety of dimensions. Respondents also identified groups with too much or too little political power, as well as groups with whom they themselves identified. They were asked to rate several political parties and politicians and to express their views regarding a range of social issues relating to domestic and foreign affairs, including the mass media (e.g., attention to television and newspapers and perceived bias in newspapers), opinions on prices, strikes in general, the miners' strike, pensions, the Common Market, nationalization, social services, Communists, devolution, income tax and wage controls, and Britain's dependency on other countries (i.e., the United States, Russia, France, Germany, and Australia). Respondents were also asked to predict incomes, unemployment, and Britain's future economic situation. Other sets of questions probed for opinions on social mores and life satisfaction (e.g., life in general, personal financial status, today's standards, local government, change, and getting ahead). Background information includes age, sex, marital status, employment status, socioeconomic group, experience of unemployment in household, income, occupation, degree of supervision, and responsibility in job (for self and spouse). Information on father's vote, party choice, strength of party support, occupation, employment status, and social grade is also included.

Series: British General Election Survey Series

Access Notes

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Study Description


Crewe, Ivor, Bo Saerlvik, and James Alt. BRITISH ELECTION STUDY: FEBRUARY 1974, CROSS-SECTION. ICPSR07868-v2. Colchester, England: Ivor Crewe, et al., University of Essex [producers], 1976. Colchester, England: ESRC Data Archive/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 2008-01-04. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07868.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07868.v2

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    economic conditions, European Economic Community, government performance, international relations, life satisfaction, mass media, national elections, personal finances, political attitudes, political change, political influences, political issues, political parties, public opinion, quality of life, social attitudes, social change, social issues, social values, socioeconomic status, trust in government, voter attitudes, voting behavior, voting patterns

Geographic Coverage:    Great Britain, Global

Time Period:   

  • 1974

Date of Collection:   

  • 1974-03--1974-05

Universe:    The eligible British electorate living south of the Caledonian Canal and excluding Northern Ireland.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The data and accompanying documentation are disseminated, under an agreement with the UK Data Archive (UKDA), exactly as they were received, without modification by ICPSR. This agreement also provides that ICPSR will disseminate the data and documentation only for use within ICPSR member institutions. (2) The text documentation provided by the data producer includes a description of the study and references (User Guide). (3) For more information regarding this study, please see the UKDA Web site.


Sample:    Respondents were selected into a multistage, self-weighting, stratified, probability sample.

Data Source:

personal interview


Users are advised that the following studies were provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Survey Archive, University of Essex, England:

  • British Election Study: February 1974, Cross-Section (ICPSR 7868)
  • British Election Study: June 1970 - February 1974 Panel Survey (ICPSR 7869)
  • British Election Study: October 1974 Cross-Section (ICPSR 7870)
  • British Election Study: October 1974 Scottish Cross-Section (ICPSR 7871)
  • British Election Study: EEC Referendum Study, 1975 (ICPSR 7872)
  • British Election Study: May 1979 Cross Section (ICPSR 8196)
  • British Election Study: [June] 1983 (ICPSR 8409)
  • British Social Attitudes Survey, 1986 (ICPSR 8910)

Under an agreement with the ESRC, the data and accompanying documentation for each study are supplied exactly as received and without any modification by the ICPSR. This agreement also provides that the ICPSR will distribute the data for use only within ICPSR member institutions and that additional copies of the documentation must be obtained directly from the ESRC.


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-06-19

Version History:

  • 2008-01-04 The data are now available as an SPSS portable file, provided by the UK Data Archive (UKDA). In addition, the PDF documentation was resupplied by the UKDA, and the text documentation was provided as additional materials by the UKDA.

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