Past Policy Impact Award Winners

The AAPOR Policy Impact Award was developed to acknowledge that a key purpose of opinion and other survey research is to facilitate better-informed decisions. The award recognizes outstanding research that has had a clear impact on improving policy decisions, practice and discourse, either in the public or private sectors.

Nomination details

2024 – American National Election Studies

The American Association for Public Opinion Research recognizes the American National Election Studies (ANES) as the longest-running and most widely used and cited time series of public opinion and voting behavior data in the world. ANES is a collaboration of the University of Michigan and Stanford University, with Duke University and the University of Texas. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study is a unique 75-year time series of nationally representative public opinion surveys conducted before and after every presidential election since 1948 and after most off-year congressional elections 1958-2006, using area- or address-based probability sampling and, primarily, face-to-face interviews.

For decades ANES has been the leading source of data on public opinion in electoral politics. It collects high-quality data on opinion and behavior that in, form policy discourse and allow evaluation of the functioning of democracy. Nearly all leading issues of national policy in the United States since the 1950s are addressed by the study, including, especially, racial inequality, economic inequality, social capital, campaign finance, voter ID laws, and attitudes and opinions about government institutions.

The American National Election Studies have had a durable and far-reaching impact on the understanding and practice of democracy in the United States and around the globe. The extent of its impact is revealed by the breadth, number, and diversity of organizations that have cited or relied on the data in their policy advocacy or discourse. These include the U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts, Congressional Research Service, Government Accountability Office, Federal Reserve Banks, National Bureau of Economic Research, foreign and internationally-focused organizations, and policy think tanks and advocacy organizations.

The ANES contribution to public discourse is further illustrated by hundreds of mentions in news media. In an increasingly polarized media environment, ANES is still cited by all sides.

The model established by the ANES has been the inspiration for national election studies in over 30 countries around the world. The impact on research about democratic society is illustrated by over 8,000 papers, books, and other publications that have used ANES data over the past 75 years. ANES is the most cited dataset in peer-reviewed articles about public opinion and political behavior in the leading political science journals and is used by thousands of scholars, journalists, students, and citizens to understand American democracy. For making public opinion available to policymakers, informing public discourse, and allowing evaluation of the functioning of democracy, the 2024 AAPOR Policy Impact Award is given to the research teams of the American National Election Studies.

2023 – The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) and the National Study of Caregiving (NSOC)

2022 – COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey (CTIS)

2021 – Feeding America for the Map the Meal Gap Project

2020 – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau for the production of the Supplemental Poverty Measure resources, thresholds, and poverty statistics

2019 – U.S. Census Bureau for the American Community Survey

2018 – The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being Project

2017 – The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project

2016 – Urban Institute for the Health Reform Monitoring Survey

2015 – The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation for the Kaiser Health Tracking Polls

2014 – The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and its contractors: RTI International, Westat, NORC and the U.S. Census Bureau for their work on the National Prison Rape Statistics Program.

2013 – John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development of Rutgers University for its Work Trends series of panel surveys chronicling the plight of unemployed Americans in the Great Recession.

2012 – State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota for the work done over a 10-year period to improve the federal data survey infrastructure to make data more accessible to inform state health policy.

2011 – U.S. Department of Defense Comprehensive Review Working Group, RAND Corporation Survey Team and Westat Survey Team in recognition for their survey work which helped inform the Senate debate that led to the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

2010 –  ABC News and Its International Media Partners BBC, ARD German TV, NHK General TV, Time Magazine, USA Today, Der Spiegel in recognition of their extraordinary series of polls in Afghanistan and Iraq on “Where Things Stand.”

2008 – Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Team, a part of the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

2006 – UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and its partners, the California Department of Health Services and the Public Health Institute – California Health Interview Survey

2005 – RAND Corporation – The HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study

2004 – The Urban Institute – Assessing the New Federalism Project