A Method of Linking Surveys Using Affective 'Signatures' with an Application to Racial/Ethnic Groups in the U.S.

34 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2008

See all articles by Marisa Abrajano

Marisa Abrajano

University of California, San Diego - Department of Political Science

Keith T. Poole

University of Georgia - School of Public and International Affairs

Date Written: April 28, 2008

Abstract

This paper addresses a concern often faced by social scientists who study subgroups within a given population, as they are frequently limited in the scope and breadth of their research questions due the quality of available survey data (i.e. inadequate sample size or lack of comprehensive questions). To address this problem, we develop a procedure for linking respondents from different surveys based on their internal (subjective) utility for political stimuli, which we capture by using an individual's responses to a set of feeling thermometer questions. Feeling thermometer questions, as demonstrated in previous research, are an accurate measure of an individual's subjective utility because they are measures of affect. We apply this technique to the 2004 National Annenberg Election survey and the 2004 American National Election Studies survey. Linking survey respondents based on their thermometer scores not only recovers the distributions on group demographics such as race/ethnicity, gender, and education but it also recovers the distributions of these groups' preferences across a wide array of issues and policies as well.

Keywords: surveys, race, ethnicity, feeling thermometer

Suggested Citation

Abrajano, Marisa and Poole, Keith T., A Method of Linking Surveys Using Affective 'Signatures' with an Application to Racial/Ethnic Groups in the U.S. (April 28, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1277464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1277464

Marisa Abrajano

University of California, San Diego - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Keith T. Poole (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Baldwin Hall
Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

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