Okay, so the title is a bit of an exaggeration, but it captured your interest didn’t it? In an effort to collect a wide range of reliable longitudinal survey data of Israeli public opinion, I have been grabbing data from a number of fantastic sources around the web.
Among them are Israel Democracy Institute’s Israeli Democracy Index, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University’s impeccable public opinion survey reports, and Tel Aviv University’s War and Peace Index published by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC). The former two institutes have put out a number of reports, many of which offer a range of longitudinal data in single reports. In short, I only have to read a document or two to get an understanding of the full range of their data.
By contrast, rather than offering any kind of composite report, the Peace Index lists its reports monthly from 1994-2009. While the site lists which questions are a permanent part of the index, they do not tell you which reports include responses to these questions. So let’s do the math. For a span of 16 years at 12 months a year, that equals 192 individual reports.
In order to compile data, I have had to go through each document, primarily in Hebrew, select out the questions in which I am interested, and individually record each and every data point. If you’ve ever wondered why professors hire research assistants, here is your answer. 5 hours in, I have only made my way through four years of data. If I stay on track, it should only take me another 15 hours to get through the rest.
I hope the data is ultimately worth the effort.
update (11/10/2011): Almost a year later, having poured over the data and produced numerous analyses that you can now find all over this blog, I can say with absolute certainty that yes, it was worth the effort.