British voters are to be compared with electorates around the world as part of the most intensive academic general election study yet.
Nearly 10,000 electors will be interviewed as part of the 1997 British Election Study and 4,000 of them will be asked some of the same questions as voters in Russia, the United States and other countries.
Study director Anthony Heath, of Nuffield College, Oxford, said: "This will provide some genuinely international comparisons on what makes people, say, prefer Yeltsin, Clinton, or Blair, over their rivals."
Dr Heath is directing the study for the fourth time and will be supported by other members of the Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends. The study is the latest in a series started 30 years ago by Nuffield's David Butler.
A second 2,000-strong panel of voters has been interviewed at regular intervals since the last election. The study also aims to see how far those who have switched allegiance in local and European elections will do so in the general election.