2000-2004 Presidential Donor Survey

Dataset

Following the 2000 United States presidential election a team of faculty conducted a mail survey of donors who had contributed to any of eight presidential candidates. These included two Democrats (Bill Bradley and Al Gore), five Republicans (Gary Bauer, George Bush, Bob Dole, Steve Forbes, and John McCain), and Green candidate Ralph Nader. The sample was stratified by candidate; each candidate's sample included approximately 300 donors sampled from public lists of donors maintained by the Federal Election Commission. Strata for Dole, Nader, and Bush were over-sampled for substantive reasons. No data was collected on modest (under $200) donors for the Forbes campaign as his campaign did not participate in public funding. Note that these samples were ALL drawn from individuals who gave before July 31, 2000. The ten-page survey instrument contained items designed to collect data on donor demographics, on political attributes, attitudes, and activities, on how the donors were solicited, and on how much, how often, and to whom they gave. It was sent directly to sampled donors via first class mail. Each envelope was addressed to a specific donor and included a personalized cover letter explaining the project. All letters were individually signed by hand. Business-reply return envelopes were provided with these materials. Approximately one month after the initial mailing, a follow-up request was sent to all sample members who had not returned a response. The text of the cover letter was changed to reflect a repeat request; otherwise, the contents were identical to the first mailing. One additional mailing was done for all remaining non-respondents, except those in Nader's stratum. Participants were given the option of responding anonymously to the survey by erasing the unique identifying number written in pencil on their surveys. Eight percent of the total sample chose to respond anonymously, with the highest rates of anonymous respondents from the Bauer (11%) and Forbes (10%) strata, and the lowest rates of anonymous response from the Gore (5%), McCain (6%), and Bush (6%) strata. The three waves were sent over the period from August to November of 2001. Following the 2004 United States presidential election the team sent slightly shorter surveys to every respondent to the 2000 survey who did not respond anonymously. The six-page survey instrument contained items designed to collect data on donor demographics, on political attributes, attitudes, and activities, on how the donors were solicited, and on how much, how often, and to whom they gave. It was sent directly to sampled donors via first class mail. Each envelope was addressed to a specific donor and included a personalized cover letter explaining the project. All letters were individually signed by hand. Business-reply return envelopes were provided with these materials. Approximately two and a half months after the initial mailing, a follow-up request was sent to all sample members who had not returned a response. The text of the cover letter was changed to reflect a repeat request and to more firmly urge participation. Two additional mailing was done for all remaining non-respondents over the next four months. Participants were given the option of responding anonymously to the survey. However, color coded marks were added to envelopes so that we could identify the appropriate strata of each respondent even if their identity was not recorded. If individuals included identifying information on anonymous respondents (e.g. return addresses) we used this only to mark these respondents as having responded, but then deleted all identifying information. At any point in the process if mail was returned with a forwarding address a survey was immediately sent to the new address. However, a number of surveys were returned without forwarding addresses. In between the third and fourth waves we submitted these addresses to a commercial mailing firm that supplied new addresses using data collected by the United States Postal Service. Thereafter four 'special waves' were sent (spaced approximately one month apart) to all addresses that had been located by this commercial firm. Because of anonymous responses, delays in the mail, and some human error some respondents received more than one survey even after having responded. In all cases the survey with the earliest post mark was included in the final dataset. On the cover letter respondents were encouraged to fill out the survey online. Only a few hundred respondents did so, and these individuals are marked in the data. These data were originally made available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10161/7882 and were migrated to the Duke Digital Repository on 04/03/2017

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cooper, A; Aldrich, J; Green, J; Wilcox, C; Munger, MC; Rozell, M

Published Date

  • October 1, 2013