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Finding Data: Data on U.S. Legislative Bodies

ACCESS TO THESE DATA FILES ARE RESTRICTED TO CURRENTLY ENROLLED/EMPLOYED MEMBERS OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY.

  • 2002 State Legislative Survey
    This survey of state legislators updates and expands the State Legislative Survey and Contextual Data, 1995, which asked many of the same questions. Questionnaires were mailed to all 7,430 state legislators (50 states, 99 chambers) in February 2002, with follow-up letters in March and May of the same year. State legislators were surveyed on the importance of various factors in learning how to do their job, the importance of various sources of information available to them, whether they had authored any bills that became law during their most recent term, whether they specialized in single policy areas, and how much time they spent on legislative duties and tasks. Opinions were sought on the relative influence of party leaders and staff, among others, in determining legislative outcomes, and how much attention party leaders should give to various duties. Additional questions asked whether respondents followed their conscience or the wishes of their constituency when making decisions, the political views of their constituency, and which groups they considered to be their strongest supporters. Information was also collected on opposition candidates, vote percentages, campaign expenditures, previously held public and appointed offices, and future political aspirations. Demographic information includes sex, race, household income, religious preference, political party affiliation, and political philosophy.

  • Attitudes of American State Legislators, 1975
    Focuses on state legislators' attitudes towards political corruption. The first wave of interviewing started in October 1975. The survey consisted of items concerning general attitudes about political corruption as well as questions designed to assess the likelihood of the occurrence of political corruption at various levels of government. In addition, state legislators were asked to evaluate the extent to which particular types of activities were corrupt. For some of these activities, legislators were asked to assess the frequency of occurrence within their own legislative setting. The survey instrument also contained questions about current social and political issues. Standard demographic variables such as age, sex, and education and other background variables such as party identification and district information were included as well.

  • Campaign Expenditures in the United States (1978+)
    Longitudinal data about the United States Senate or House of Representatives committees involved in federal campaign finance within an election cycle, and on each registered candidate for the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. Data are furnished on the contributions received and spent by the candidates, and the United States Congressional campaign contributions, disbursements, debts, and total expenditures for and against political candidates.

  • Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) Recruitment Studies, 2008
    Studies of United States state legislators' and mayors' pathways to office. Data about state legislators and mayors of big cities were gathered through survey instruments that consisted primarily of questions concerning the decision to seek office, previous political experience, and personal background. All women serving in the legislatures of the 50 states were surveyed, along with a random sample of men state legislators; men were randomly selected and sampled in proportion to the number of women serving in each chamber and state. All women mayors of cities with a population of 30,000 and above serving in 2008 were surveyed, along with a random sample of men mayors. Demographic variables include age, education, race, and marital status.

  • Congressional Record for 104th-110th Congresses: Text and Phrase Counts
    This qualitative data collection contains original and processed text from the United States Congressional Record for the 104th-110th Congresses. The Congressional Record includes text from both chambers, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. For each Congress the archive includes the original tagged text files, parsed files that separate the text into individual speeches, speaker metadata that can be linked to the parsed files, and counts of two-word phrases (bigrams) by speaker, party, and date.

  • DW-NOMINATE Scores
    Ideological scores for the 1st to the 113th Congresses (1789 - 2014).

  • Federal Election Commission
    Detailed data on campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates, parties, and committees.

  • Legislative Behavior Study, 1957
    Surveyed members of the state legislatures of California, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee during the 1957 sessions. The interviews focused on the perceptions and behaviors of state legislators, with special emphasis on their perceptions of the workings of the legislature, the roles and tasks of legislators as well as institutional and party officials, the workings of political parties and pressure groups and their bearing on substantive policy issues, and the influence patterns within the legislature. In addition, the respondents were questioned on their recruitment into politics, their political orientation, perceptions of their job, political motivations and aspirations, and responsibilities toward their party, constituents, and pressure groups.

  • Legislative Issues in the Fifty States, 1963
    This study of state legislative politics surveyed legislators from all 50 states. Questions were asked about areas of political conflict in the legislature, the determinants of conflict, the role of various political actors, and the accumulated effect of conflict upon policy formation. Background information was also collected.

  • Lobbyists and Legislators: A Comparative State Study, 1966
    Includes data collected in February and March 1966 from registered lobbyists (Part 1) and legislators (Part 2) in the states of Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, and Utah. The lobbyists (Part 1) were asked about their backgrounds in politics and in the organizations they represented. The study ascertained the lobbyists' feelings about their profession and its role in the legislative process as well as specifics about the organization(s) by whom they were employed. In addition to details of their work as lobbyists -- contacts with legislatures, techniques used to persuade, and time spent with opposition lobbyists -- the study probed the respondents' opinions about the most powerful occupation groups and the reasons for their influential positions. The legislators (Part 2) were asked about their early interest in politics, their previously held government positions, and the legislative leadership positions held at the time of the interview. Questions centered on the legislators' opinions of lobbyists and contacts with them, their competence, tasks, means of communication, and the extent to which lobbyists used pressure and persuasive activities. Aggregate data descriptions of the legislators' districts are also included.

  • Mapping Congress: Roll Call Votes of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1862-1865

  • Measuring American Legislatures
    Data on the ideology measures of individual state legislators and state legislatures between 1993 and 2014. This data was used in the paper by Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty, "The Ideological Mapping of American Legislatures", American Political Science Review (August 2011), 105:3, pp. 530-551. Data is free.

  • New Jersey Legislative District Data Book (1990, 1993+)
    Detailed statistical and directory information for each of New Jersey's legislative districts. Also includes comparable information for each congressional district, county, municipality and school district in the state. Interactive mapping is available.

  • Partisan Division of American State Governments (1834-1985)
    Data are furnished annually and biennially for every legislator in the United States. Provides information on the number of seats held by the major and minor parties in both houses of the state's legislature and the party identification of the state's governor during the term of each legislator.

  • Policy Agendas Project
    Attempt to provide comparable measures of policy changes in the United States since the Second World War. Includes information summarizing each U.S. Congressional hearing from 1946-2015; information from all articles in the main chapters of the Congressional Quarterly Almanac from 1948-2011; information about each public law passed from 1948-2014; bills introduced in Congress from 1947-2015; every congressional roll call vote from 1946-2013; information about each executive order issued from 1945-2015; information on each quasi-statement in the Presidential State of the Union Speeches from 1946-2017; presidential veto rhetoric from 1985-2016; Democratic Party platforms 1948-2016; Republican Party platforms 1948-2016; contains information on each case on the Supreme Courts docket from from 1944-2009; time-series database of all associations in the Encyclopedia of Associations, coded both by the EA subject categories as well as by the major topics of the PAP from 1966 to 2001; responses to Gallup's Most Important Problem question aggregated at the annual level from 1947-2015; a systematic random sample of the New York Times Index from 1946-2014; information on the number of pages in the New York Times Index and an estimate of the number of articles per page; television news policy agendas from 1968-2010; annual data, adjusted for inflation, of U.S. Budget Authority from FY 1947-FY 2015; tax expenditures from 1979-2014; and highlights of the main issues concerning the study of budgetary outcomes across countries and time.

  • Roll Call Voting Records for the Confederate Congresses, 1862-1865

  • Roll Calls of the Continental Congresses and the Congresses of the Confederation, 1777-1789

  • State Legislative Committee Systems in the United States, 1981
    Focuses on the committee systems in the separate state legislatures in the United States. The data were collected by mail questionnaire sent to a national sample of state legislators at the close of the 1981 legislative sessions. Included are responses to questions about the management, operation, and efficiency of legislative committee systems as well as problems perceived in the committee system. State legislators were asked to evaluate the performance and centrality of the committees they served on and their legislative chamber as a whole.

  • State Legislative Conference Committees, 1975-1979
    Examined the importance of conference committee behavior in the state legislatures of 10 states over one budgetary period. Analyzed the winners in conference and the degree of inter-chamber disagreement on budgetary items.

  • State Legislative Election Returns in the United States (1967-2010)
    Election returns at the district, county, constituency, and candidate levels for state legislative races contested in all 50 states in the United States. Included also are special election returns, when provided as part of the official returns for the states and primary election returns for 16 southern and border states.

  • State Legislative Survey and Contextual Data, 1995
    This survey of state legislators focused on attitudes toward term limits and what effects term limits might have. The survey was conducted just as term limits were about to be initiated in close to 20 states. Respondents were asked how many terms they had served, whether they supported the idea of term limits, and if they had taken a position on term limits during their campaigns. They were also asked about the relative influence of party leaders and staff, among others, in determining legislative outcomes and how this influence had changed recently. With regard to the job of legislator, respondents were queried regarding how many bills and amendments they had authored, how much time they spent on various duties and tasks, and if they specialized in single policy areas. Also elicited was campaign information regarding headquarters and staff, as well as information on opposition, vote percentages, and campaign expenditures. Additional questions regarding the respondent's political future were asked as well. Former state legislators also answered questions regarding which other offices they held, and whether they were appointed or elected to those positions. In addition, they were asked why they departed from the legislature, if they were likely to run for office again, what the political background of the person who held the seat after them was, and, if they chose not to run for re-election, the reason for that decision. Demographic information, including gender, year of birth, ethnicity, occupation outside of politics, income level, and religious affiliation was also collected. Contextual information was added to the file by the principal investigators, and includes data on state population, the date when term limits were adopted in the state, length of term, timing of elections, number of seats in the legislature, legislative expenditures, and legislator compensation.

  • State Legislative Survey and Contextual Data, 1995
    This survey of state legislators focused on attitudes toward term limits and what effects term limits might have. The survey was conducted just as term limits were about to be initiated in close to 20 states. Respondents were asked how many terms they had served, whether they supported the idea of term limits, and if they had taken a position on term limits during their campaigns. They were also asked about the relative influence of party leaders and staff, among others, in determining legislative outcomes and how this influence had changed recently. With regard to the job of legislator, respondents were queried regarding how many bills and amendments they had authored, how much time they spent on various duties and tasks, and if they specialized in single policy areas. Also elicited was campaign information regarding headquarters and staff, as well as information on opposition, vote percentages, and campaign expenditures. Additional questions regarding the respondent's political future were asked as well. Former state legislators also answered questions regarding which other offices they held, and whether they were appointed or elected to those positions. In addition, they were asked why they departed from the legislature, if they were likely to run for office again, what the political background of the person who held the seat after them was, and, if they chose not to run for re-election, the reason for that decision. Demographic information, including gender, year of birth, ethnicity, occupation outside of politics, income level, and religious affiliation was also collected. Contextual information was added to the file by the principal investigators, and includes data on state population, the date when term limits were adopted in the state, length of term, timing of elections, number of seats in the legislature, legislative expenditures, and legislator compensation.

  • Survey of State Legislators Relationship with their Districts, 2008
    Data from state legislators within states that passed an initiative or referendum on same-sex marriage and who responded to a fall 2008 mail survey. The legislators were surveyed about information they use to make decisions (including measures of trustee and delegate styles), how much time they and their staff spend on different tasks, how they try to stay in contact with their constituents (communication methods and social media use), as well as their perceptions of their constituents issue positions. Data were also collected about the district population demographics and ideologies. Additional information was collected about the legislators' previous positions, previous election, and their ambitions regarding whether they aspired to hold a similar office or otherwise. Demographic information included in this collection are sex, year born, and political ideology.

  • United States Congressional Biographical Data Series
    Provides information on congressional service and selected biographical characteristics for each person who had served in the United States Congress in the period 1789-1996.

  • United States Congressional Roll Call Voting Records
    Records of all roll call votes in both chambers of the United States Congress from the first through the second session of the 105th Congress (1789-1998) are provided in this series. Each record contains a member's voting action on every roll call vote taken during that Congress, as well as demographic information on them. Updated by Voteview.com.

  • Voteview
    Software and data developed by Howard Rosenthal and his colleague Keith Poole to analyze the interaction between ideology and congressional roll call voting throughout U.S. history.

  • Voting Behavior in the Wisconsin State Legislature, 1965-1966 and 2003-2016
    Includes the final floor votes on bills and biographical and other background information for each legislator. It encompasses the Senates and Assemblies of Wisconsin Legislatures for 1965 to 1966 and 2003 to 2016. 1965-1966, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2011-2012, and 2015-2016 data have the final floor votes on bills contested by at least five percent of voting legislators. However 2013-2014 data include the final floor votes on all bills. Past and future legislative sessions will be added to the DISC archive as they become available or can be placed in consistent formats. Work in progress includes the 1895, 1901, 1903, 1905, 1915, and 1967 Wisconsin Senates and the 1967, and 1969 Wisconsin Assemblies. Free registration is required.

  • Voting Scores for Members of the United States Congress (1945-1982)
    Developed from the Congressional Quarterly Almanac. Provides information on the voting scores of members of Congress who served at any time in the period 1946-1982, from the second session of the 79th Congress to the second session of the 97th Congress. Voting scores are computed for each Senator and Representative for each session of the Congress (except for the 79th, 80th, 96th, and 97th Congresses). Variables include voting participation, which is an indicator of the member's attendance only, partisan voting, bipartisan voting, conservative coalition voting, presidential issues voting, federal role voting, and interest group voting. The individual member of Congress is the unit of analysis.

This page last updated: October 21, 2009