Who’s Most Likely to Take Follow-Up Surveys in Panels?


Who’s most likely to take follow-up surveys in panels? Such a question is important to keep in mind when drawing conclusions based on panel surveys (like here and here). When panel survey datasets include the full set of respondents in the first of a survey and the smaller portion of respondents who participated in a later wave/s, this allows one to examine what factors correlate with later wave participation given earlier participation. I’ve used the Voter Study Group dataset to study this question before, finding higher educated and white individuals to be particularly likely to take follow-up surveys. The popular Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), which has pre- and post-election waves, offers potential for a similar and more comprehensive analysis.

The above graph shows the correlates of taking the post-election CCES survey among the entire sample (those who took the pre-election wave) for the last three general elections. A few quick notes on the modeling:

  • A linear probability model is used and 95% confidence intervals are shown
  • The main model includes validated voter status, 3-category education level (base=HS/less), female, age group (base=18-29), race (base=white), and political interest (0-1 scale)
  • Coefficients for income (0-1 scale), party (base=Democrat), partisan intensity (Ind./Not Sure, 0, to strong partisans, 1), pre-election vote intent (base=Rep vote), internet access at home AND work, and political media engagement come from adding each to the main model individually (i.e. each tested separately)
  • Pol. media engagement = sharing, commenting, OR forwarding something about politics on social media

Some observations on the results:

  • Older age and white individuals are most likely to take follow up surveys; voters are also more likely to participate in later waves, as are those who are more interested in politics (though the effect here is less than I expected)
  • There were a few surprising null, small, or inconsistent effects
    1. Full internet access (at both home and work); given that the CCES is an online survey, I thought people who had more consistent internet access would be more likely to take follow up surveys, but that’s not the case (this variable is available only for 2012 and 2016)
    2. Politically engaged on social media; those most willing to actively express themselves politically on social media seem like they would participate in later waves at higher rates, but that’s not the case (this variable is available only for 2016)
    3. Political winners/losers; given that the CCES solicits post wave responses right after the general election outcome, I expected that partisans (in terms of partisanship and intended pre-election vote choice) who experience an election loss would be less willing to engage in a political act (taking the CCES survey) amid a politically disappointing period, but evidence does not support this; individuals without partisan ties on the party identification question and unsure about whom to vote for/whether to vote before the election do indeed take the post-election survey less (they are probably less interested in politics anyways), but partisan differences are very minimal
Who’s Most Likely to Take Follow-Up Surveys in Panels?

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