There has been no shortage of blog posts by political scientists using the newly released American National Election Study since the latest wave went public a little more than a week ago.
Below are a handful of good examples:
John Sides over at The Monkey Cage has a look at respondents' campaign donations
during the 2008 campaign (and over time since 1952). The percentage contributing to political campaigns rose to the highest level witnessed since 1976. However, that didn't hold (for all groups) once the sample was grouped according to income.
Tom Holbrook used the NES to examine just how far behind the eight ball John McCain was in 2008 because of the economy. The answer? Very much behind it. Respondents judging the economy to have been somewhat or much worse off than it was a year prior reached an all-time high (1980-2008). That the "much worse" crowd totalled two-thirds of the sample indicates just how much ground McCain had to make up with that Republican brand in tow. [The same basic pattern holds when party identification is controlled for as well. ...even among Strong Republicans. Nearly half of those in that group found the economy to be much worse off.]
The question I had for Tom (and you can read the exchange we had in the comments via the link to the post above) was whether there were any differences in the economic evaluations based on when the interview was conducted. There was an almost two week period on the front end of the interviewing window that preceded the Lehman Brothers collapse/McCain suspension of his campaign. Were views during that period any less negative than they were after that new broke (and until election day)? Sadly (surprisingly?), the NES doesn't provide an "interview date" variable in the data. However, the separate panel data set (that interviewed and re-interviewed respondents throughout the campaign) did not find any significant differences from the summer to the fall. They were slightly more negative later, but not surprisingly so. In other words, opinions on the economy were already cemented prior to the Lehman news.
Finally, John Sides also tried his hand at whether racial prejudice had any impact on presidential vote totals (1972-2008). In 2008, Obama's total would have risen by one percentage point among white voters if those white voters who had a "less favorable view of blacks, relative to whites, were magically transformed into someone with equivalent views of blacks and whites." So, not that much.
Interesting stuff that will only multiply as the data gets into more people's hands.
More on 2008 Candidate Visits
2008 Presidential Candidate Visits by State and Party
Should Indiana Frontload in 2012? (Part Two)