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British Election Study: October 1974, Cross-Section (ICPSR 7870)

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


The October 1974 cross-section 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. For the October 1974 Cross-Section survey, 2,365 British electors were interviewed, of which 1,674 had also been interviewed in the February 1974 cross-section, although this is NOT a panel file. As with other surveys in the series, electors in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands were excluded from the sampling frame. Interviewed in October 1974 (and stretching to January 1975 in order to boost the response rate), respondents answered questions relating to the mass media (e.g., attention to newspapers and television and perceived bias in newspapers), their first and second choices in the October 1974 general election, and their opinions of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal, Scottish Nationalist, and Plaid Cymru political parties (e.g., perceived difference among parties, knowledge of party position/record, party identification, and the strength of party preference). Respondents also were asked for their views on a range of social issues relating to domestic and foreign affairs, with emphasis on the economy and the Common Market. Respondents were then asked how the parties stood on each issue, and how much that influenced the respondent's vote. Some of the issues include rising prices, strikes, unemployment, pensions, housing, North Sea oil, taxation, the Common Market, social services, nationalization, wage controls, and the amount of power held by unions and by big business. Respondents were also asked for their attitudes about their personal financial status, change/getting ahead, life in general, today's standards, local government, their own occupation, and the government's achievements. They also gave their predictions for Britain's future economy and of the outcome of the October election, and compared Britain's government and industry with those of Europe. Respondents were asked if they felt the following had gone too far: sex and race equality, police handling of demonstrations, law breakers, pornography, modern teaching methods, abortion, welfare benefits, and military cuts. Respondents were then asked to agree or disagree with the suggestions that government should: establish comprehensives, increase cash to health service, repatriate immigrants, control land, increase foreign aid, toughen on crime, control pollution, give workers more say, curb Communists, spend on poverty, redistribute wealth, decentralize power, and preserve the countryside. Background information includes age, sex, marital status, place of residence during childhood, subjective class, forced subjective class, family class, tenure, type and length of residence, employment status, degree of responsibility in and training for job (respondent and spouse), experience of unemployment in household, income, trade union membership (respondent and spouse), and socioeconomic group.

Series: British General Election Survey Series

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Study Description


Crewe, Ivor, Bo Saerlvik, and James Alt. BRITISH ELECTION STUDY: OCTOBER 1974 CROSS-SECTION. ICPSR07870-v1 Colchester, England: Ivor Crewe, et al., University of Essex [producers], 1974. Colchester, England: ESRC Data Archive/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 2006-01-31. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07870.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07870.v1

Export Citation:

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


This study was funded by:

  • Social Science Research Council

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, social attitudes, social change, social issues, social values, socioeconomic status, voter attitudes, voting behavior, voting patterns

Geographic Coverage:    Great Britain, United Kingdom, Global

Time Period:   

  • 1974-10

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, exactly as they were received, without modification by ICPSR. This agreement also provides that ICPSR will disseminate these data only for use within member institutions. (2) 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: 1969-1970, February 1974 Panel (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)


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

Mode of Data Collection:    personal interview


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-06-19

Version History:

  • 2006-01-31 PDF documentation files provided by the UK Data Archive have been made available with this collection.

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