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Political Science *

Below are links to databases and scholarly web sites that support the study of political science and its related sub-disciplines.

General Election Information

Listed below are resources about elections and links to organizations that study campaigns are elections.

  • 270toWin -- this site combines an interactive Electoral College map for the then-current presidential election cycle with historical maps and information for all prior elections. Contains information on the Electoral College system and the integral role it plays in electing the President.
  • A New Nation Votes -- a searchable collection of election returns from the earliest years of American democracy, 1787-1825. The data covers all offices from the Federal to the local levels and can be viewed from a complete list of candidates with links to their elections or by state, year, office, jurisdiction, party, or election type.
  • American National Election Studies – an organization created in a collaboration of Stanford University and the University of Michigan that produces high quality data from its own surveys on voting, public opinion, and political participation. It conducts research on elections, produces statistical survey data from 1952 to the present, and provides searchable lists and abstracts for various election studies.
  • Ballotpedia -- a nonprofit and nonpartisan collaborative digital encyclopedia that includes information about elections, politicians, and candidates at all levels of government. Data ranges from national elections and Congress to information about state executive officials, state legislatures, recall elections, ballot measures, and even local school boards.
  • Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) -- a non-profit organization that serves as a resource for grassroots advocates and uses the ballot measure process as a tool for achieving progressive policy goals and political gains.
  • Campaign Finance Data -- produced by the Federal Elections Commission, this site contains a searchable database of reports and statements filed by political committees. View actual financial disclosure reports filed by House, Senate and Presidential campaigns, Parties and PACs from 1993 to the present.
  • CQ Voting and Elections Collection -- integrates data, authoritative analysis, concise explanations, and historical material to provide comprehensive information on the American voter, major and minor political parties, campaigns and elections, and historical and modern races for Congress, the presidency, and governorships.
  • ElectionGuide -- provides information on national elections, breaking news on election-related laws and political developments, and election results and voter turnout from around the world.
  • Election Resources on the Internet -- this site provides detailed regional and international election statistics and otherr online international election resources.
  • FactCheck.org -- this site monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of television ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases to increase public knowledge and understanding.
  • ICPSR -- archive of social science data covering a range of subject areas including population, economics, education, health, social and political behavior, crime, aging, and substance abuse. Note that USC users will need to create an account from on-campus to download data.
  • PARLINE Database on National Parliaments -- contains information on the structure and working methods of 262 parliamentary chambers in all of the 187 countries where a national legislature exists.
  • PolitiFact -- a project of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies that assesses factual truth in American politics. Reporters and editors from the Times fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists, and interest groups and rate them on a "Truth-O-Meter."
  • Project Vote Smart -- provides backgrounds and records of thousands of political candidates and elected offices to discover their voting records, campaign contributions, public statements, biographical data (including their work history) and evaluations of them generated by over 100 competing special interest groups.
  • Psephos -- billed as largest, most comprehensive and most up-to-date archive of electoral information in the world, with election statistics from 176 countries. Use the alphabetical index at left to find information about every country in the world. The site looks cartoonish but contains good information.
  • Voting America -- provides cinematic and interactive maps showing how Americans voted in presidential elections at the county level, from the beginning of the modern party system in 1840 to the present.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Lobbying Disclosure Information

Below are the official sites for finding lobbying documents and information for all members of Congress, including incumbents seeking re-election.

  • House of Representatives Lobby Disclosure -- site of the House Office of the Clerk that provides up-to-date reporting of lobbyist activities required under the Lobbying Disclosure Electronic Filing System. Site includes the Lobbying Disclosure Electronic Filing System public access system covering reports from 2002 to the present.
  • United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Databasesdatabases created under requirements of the Secretary of the Senate to make all documents filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, as amended, available to the public. Note that the downloadable lobbying documents include all documents received during a given calendar quarter. The lobbying documents database includes the lobbying registrations (LD-1) and reports (LD-2). The contributions database is limited to the documents filed under section 203 of HLOGA (LD-203), the first of which is required to be filed by registrants and lobbyists by July 30, 2008.

Money in Politics Resources

Listed below are resources that provide data and analysis of monetary donations in politics:

  • Campaign Finance Institute Historical Data Tables -- this think tank provides historical data on congressional and presidential election fundraising, expenditures, and party, interest group, and PAC spending. Tables and figures are in PDF and cover 1974-present with many of these tables are available in Excel. The Institute also produces research reports as well as a Money in Politics Bibliography covering academic literature back to 2006.
  • Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections -- a general resource produced at Stanford University for the study of campaign finance and ideology in American politics. The database contains over 130 million political contributions made by individuals and organizations to local, state, and federal elections spanning a period from 1979 to 2014. A corresponding database of candidates and committees provides additional information on state and federal elections.
  • Federal Election Commission Campaign Finance Data -- the site contains a variety of data files that will allow you to download itemized and trend data and filings for contributions and disbursements by and for candidates, committees, PACs, and independent expenditures. Bulk downloads of detailed data are available from an old FEC site.
  • FollowTheMoney.org – provides data and reports on money and spending in state-level politics. Covers campaign finance donations, spending by outside groups, and spending on ballot measures for all fifty states. You can view national or state overviews of spending; get breakdowns by district, candidate, party, industry, incumbency status, and more. The National Institute on Money in State Politics cleans, verified, and standardizes the data. Site also includes a helpful directory of State Disclosure Offices.
  • MapLight -- a nonpartisan research organization that connects data on campaign contributions in congressional elections, legislative votes by members of Congress, and which interest groups, companies, and organizations support and oppose key bills. The site also includes the Federal Money and Politics Dataset of cleaned up FEC campaign contribution data for each cycle 2008-present.
  • OpenSecrets.org – supported by the Center for Responsive Politics, this is a comprehensive source for data freely available for non-commercial use on campaign finance at the federal level. Covers contributions to candidates and PACs; campaign spending by outside groups; lobbying and interest groups; personal finances of politicians and the revolving door of politicians to lobbyists; political ad buys; and more. Coverage from 1998 to the present.
  • State Campaign Finance Legislation Database – produced by the National Conference of State Legislatures, this database contains state legislation related to campaign finance processes and reform. Bills found here deal with campaign contribution limits, disclosure requirements, independent expenditure requirements and other campaign finance-related issues from 2015 onward. Bill information for the current year is updated each Tuesday. To view bills from previous years, visit NCSL’s Campaign Finance Legislation Database 1999-2013 and Campaign Finance Legislation Database 2014.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites and from Jeremy Darrington's American Politics Research Guide, Princeton University Libraries.