Political, Election, and Polling

 

United States & Virginia

erikgahner PolData GitHub: “A dataset with political datasets”

  • Excellent listing of political science datasets.  Topics include: cabinets and parliaments, citizens, constitutions, political institutions, parties and politicians, democracy, governance, economics, elections, international relations, media, policy, political elites, and other.

American National Election Studies (ANES)

  • Time period: 1948 – present
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): state, region
  • Unit of observation: individual
  • The ANES is one of the major sources for electoral and political data in the US; it provides data from its own surveys on voting, public opinion and political participation. Register an account (it’s free) to download data files and documentation from their Time Series Studies (conducted during years of national elections), Pilot Studies (conducted in the “off-years”) and other special studies.

Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES)

Time: 2005-2018
The CCES is a 50,000+ person national stratified sample survey administered by YouGov. The survey consists of two waves in election years.

Current Population Survey: Voting and Registration Supplement

  • Time period: 1964 to present
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): some as low as state level, but mostly national
  • Unit of observation: individual
  • The Current Population Survey is conducted by the US Census Bureau. In election years (i.e., even numbered years), the Current Population Survey collects data on reported voting and registration, and later reports stats by turnout, age, race and origin.

Dave Leip Election Data

  • Time period: 1972 – 2016 (varies by election)
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): county, state
  • Unit of observation: county, state
  • This collection contains county-level returns for elections to the offices of president, governor, United States senator, and United States representative for select years. Files contain the total number of votes for each candidate on the ballot and include state and county FIPS codes.

Gallup Analytics

  • Time period: U.S. Dailies: 2008-present; World Poll: 2006-present; Gallup Brain: 1935-present
  • Geographic coverage: US, 160+ other countries
  • Geographic unit(s): nation, state, MSA
  • Unit of observation: statistics
  • Gallup Analytics offers economic, well-being, and political polling data collected daily in the US since 2008, and the data can be broken down by state or MSA. Gallup also provides the World Poll, which captures economic, social, and well-being data for 160+ countries going back to 2006. Gallup Brain presents historical public opinion polling going back to 1935.  Learn more at the Gallup Public Opinion Poll Research Guide.
  • UVA Library offers mediated access to the World Poll and US Dailies microdata.

Historical Statistics of the United States

  • Time period: 1790 – 2000
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): mostly nation
  • Unit of observation: statistics
  • This is the standard source for quantitative indicators of American history. HSUS contains time series tables that cover the demographic, economic, social, political, and institutional history of the U.S. Find political and election relation tables such as voter turnout, congressional legislation, as well as presidential and congressional elections. The tables can be downloaded in Excel. The introductory essays provide guidance on sources and reliability and interpretation.

ICPSR

  • Time period: varies by dataset
  • Geographic coverage: mostly US, some other countries and global
  • Geographic unit(s): varies by dataset; mostly state and nation, some precinct
  • Unit of observation: varies by dataset; individual for some datasets
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is one of the world’s oldest and largest social science data repositories and contains many large-scale studies. Find political and electoral studies and datasets in topics such as voting behavior, political parties, political attitudes, and election returns, results, campaigns, forecasting, and more.

MIT Election Lab

  • Time period: 1976-2016 (varies)
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic units: state, county, and precinct (varies)
  • Presidential and Congressional elections, and some state offices.

OpenElections

Includes general, primary, and special elections to federal, gubernatorial, and state legislative office (by county and precinct, generally 2000–present). The project is still in process, but many states have data available, especially for recent general elections.

Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

  • Time period: 1997 – present
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): varies by survey
  • Unit of observation: mostly individual/household
  • The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducts regular polls on numerous topics. Some of political related data are available for downloading, such as monthly political survey, post-election survey and political polarization survey.

PolicyMap

  • Time period: mostly 2000 – present
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): block group, tract, city, county, state, ZIP code, congressional district
  • Unit of observation: varied
  • PolicyMap is an online data and mapping tool that enables researchers to access data about communities and markets across the United States. It contains over 15,000 continuously updated datasets related to demographics, economy, health, education, quality of life and more. Find political and election information such as presidential and senate elections, house of representatives, and voter turnout.

Polling the Nations

  • Time period: 1986 – present
  • Geographic coverage: US and some international surveys
  • Geographic unit(s): mostly country, some state and local
  • Unit of observation: statistics; individual/household (public opinion)
  • Polling the Nations is an excellent source of polling results, especially for international polls.  There is broad coverage of political, economic and social issues.

Record Of American Democracy (ROAD)

Time: 1984–1990
Record Of American Democracy (ROAD) data include election returns, socioeconomic summaries, and demographic measures of the American public at unusually low levels of geographic aggregation. All elections at and above State House, along with party registration and other variables, in each state for the roughly 170,000 precincts nationwide.

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research: US Elections

  • Time period: 1938- (varies by election)
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): mostly state and nation
  • Unit of observation: statistics; individual/household (public opinion)
  • The Roper Center has a collection of US elections which includes presidential elections, exit polls, and congressional elections. In addition, iPOLL offers over 80,000 questions on elections and voting, while over 7,000 datasets in RoperExpress allow researchers to conduct studies on vote preference, voter participation, and more.

Statistical Abstract of the United States

  • Time period: 1800-present (2013-2016 editions)
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic unit(s): state, region
  • Unit of observation: statistics
  • The Statistical Abstract of the United States provides statistics on election politics, such as political parties, House of Representatives, presidency, senate, campaign funds, and more. The source notes can be used to find more detailed tables and machine-readable datasets.

Virginia Elections and State Elected Officials Database Project, 1776-2008

  • Time period: 1776-2008
  • Geographic coverage: Virginia
  • Geographic unit(s): state, districts
  • Unit of observation: statistics
  • The Virginia Elections and State Elected Officials Database Project offers a searchable, integrated, and expandable record of state election results, which include individual district and election attributes, candidate names and state electoral histories, vote tallies, and campaign expenditures. This site also offers various summary statistics related to these elections, including historical measures of reelection rates and of electoral competition.

WiscAds

  • Time period: 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008
  • Geographic coverage: United States
  • Geographic unit(s): media markets (DMAs)
  • Unit of observation: political advertising
  • The Wisconsin Advertising Project (“WiscAds”) is a research project that analyzes how political candidates, political parties, and special interest groups communicate with voters via advertising.  Between 2000-2008, WiscAds grew from the 75 largest media markets (DMAs) to the entire country.  Each ad comes with a variety of codes, including issues mentioned (e.g., economic and social policies), suggested actions for a voter to take, and who paid for the ad.

U.S. House Primary Election Results (1956-2010)

  • Time period: 1956-2010
  • Geographic coverage: US
  • Geographic units: district
  • Election return data from all Democratic and Republican primaries for the US House of Representatives for 1956-2010. Includes district-specific variables, as well as data about candidate backgrounds and gender in recent years.
International

Afrobarometer

  • Time period: 1999-present
  • Geographic coverage: Africa
  • Geographic unit(s): nation
  • Unit of observation: individual
  • Afrobarometer conducts public attitudes surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues in more than 35 countries in Africa. Find political and electoral data from survey topics such as participation in campaigns, elections, development efforts and protests, as well as public attitudes and opinions toward democracy and governance performance, social service and so on. The merged data files are available for downloading.

Arab Barometer

Archigos

  • Time period: 1789-present
  • Geographic coverage: international (nearly 200 countries)
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: country
  • The Archigos dataset provides historical data the leaders of nearly 200 countries between 1875 and 2015.

Authoritarian Regimes Data Set

  • Time period: 1973-2010
  • Geographic coverage: international (195 countries)
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: country
  • A dataset that includes pathways from authoritarianism to further authoritarianism or democratization. [Hadenius, et. al]

Autocratic Regime Data

  • Time period: 1946-2010
  • Geographic coverage: international – includes 280 autocratic regimes during the period from 1946 to 2010 in independent countries with more than one million inhabitants in 2009
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: country-year
  • Autocratic Regime Data provides transition information for the 280 autocratic regimes in existence from 1946 to 2010. The data identify how regimes exit power, how much violence occurs during transitions, and whether the regimes that precede and succeed them are autocratic. [Geddes, et. al]

CIRI Human Rights Data Project

Comparative Constitutions Project

Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES)

  • Time period: 1996-present (varies by nation/polity)
  • Geographic coverage: international
  • Geographic unit(s): electoral district, region of residence
  • Unit of observation: individual
  • The CSES is a joint effort of election study teams from around the world, which provides merged datasets for use in comparative study and cross-level analysis. See table of election studies appearing in CSES datasets by country/province. Look for variables included in the data.

Comparative Welfare Entitlements Dataset

Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA)

  • Time period: 1788-present (varies by nation)
  • Geographic coverage: international
  • Geographic unit(s): sub-national geographical unit; nation; region
  • Unit of observation: constituency
  • The Constituency-Level Elections Archive (CLEA) is a repository of election results at the constituency level for lower house legislative elections from around the world.

Democracy and Dictatorship Dataset (DD/PACL/ACLP/CGV)

  • Time period: 1946-2008
  • Geographic coverage: international (202 countries)
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: regime
  • Classification of political regimes as democracy and dictatorship. Classification of democracies as parliamentary, semi-presidential (mixed) and presidential. Classification of dictatorships as military, civilian and royal. [Cheibub, et. al]

Democratic Contradictions in European Settler Colonies

  • Time period: 17th-20th Centuries
  • Geographic coverage: global
  • Geographic unit(s): nations/colonies
  • Unit of observation: nations/colonies
  • The Democratic Contradictions in European Settler Colonies dataset includes 144 territories colonized by several countries.  The dataset includes the year of colonization, year of independence, and various metrics related to the colonies’ legislature and suffrage.

European Election Studies (EES)

  • Time period: 1979-2014, in waves
  • Geographic coverage: Europe
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: individual
  • The EES provides data about electoral participation and voting behaviour in European Parliament elections, and more. Being the central part of the EES, the Voter Studies are generally post-election surveys conducted after the European Parliament Elections, with a number of pre-electoral components. The information of their two other studies, Elite Study and Media Study can be found on the site as well.

Freedom in the World

  • Time period: 1973-present
  • Geographic coverage: international (195 countries and 14 territories)
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: country
  • Freedom House’s Freedom in the World report assesses the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world. It is composed of numerical ratings and supporting descriptive texts for 195 countries and 14 territories.

Global State Revenues and Expenditures Dataset

Manifesto Project

The Manifesto Project provides the scientific community with parties’ policy positions derived from a content analysis of parties’ electoral manifestos. It covers over 1000 parties from 1945 until today in over 50 countries on five continents.

Polity IV: Regime Authority Characteristics and Transitions Datasets

  • Time period: 1800-2017
  • Geographic coverage: international (167countries)
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: country
  • Center for Systemic Peace’s Polity IV Project, Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800-2017, offers annual, cross-national, time-series and polity-case formats coding democratic and autocratic “patterns of authority” and regime changes in all independent countries with total population greater than 500,000 in 2017.
  • Coups d’Etat data are available for 1946-2017.
  • State Fragility Index and Matrix is available for 2017.

Quality of Government Institute

Uppsala Conflict Data Program

Varieties of Democracy

  • Time period: 1789-present
  • Geographic coverage: international (over 200 countries)
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: country
  • The Varieties of Democracy project scores countries annually on five high-level aspects of democracy, which are further broken down (by thousands of country-experts, based on a detailed codebook) into hundreds of more granular “indicators.”

World Values Survey (WVS)

  • Time period: 1981-present
  • Geographic coverage: international (over 100 countries)
  • Geographic unit(s): country
  • Unit of observation: country
  • The World Values Survey is the “largest non-commercial, cross-national, time series investigation of human beliefs and values.”  Topics include economic development, democratization, religion, gender equality, social capital, and subjective well-being.

 

Recommended Reading

A Statistical History of the American Electorate

  1. Accuracy and Inaccuracy of Election Data 1
  2. Who Is Allowed to Vote: Suffrage and Election Laws 13
  3. Who Goes to the Polls 37
  4. Familiarity of Presidential Elections 118
  5. Obscurity of House Elections 198
  6. Notoriety of Senate Elections 369
  7. Isolation of Gubernational Elections? 434
  8. Party Winners and Losers Across Multiple Elections 510
  9. Appendix A: Major-Party Labels 690
  10. Appendix B: Additional House Election Data 694

The African American Electorate: A Statistical History

  • “This pioneering study offers the first systematic and comprehensive longitudinal analysis of the African American electorate in America. This study describes and then explains both commonly known and newly discovered rare registration and voting data on the African American electorate. Using this empirical data, this study tells the story from the Colonial Era through the Revolutionary, Antebellum, and Civil War eras, through Reconstruction to the Disenfranchisement, pre-White Primary, and Poll Tax eras, to the Voting Rights Act (VRA), and finally to the historic presidential election of African American Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., in 2008.”

Voter Turnout in the United States 1788-2009

Based on meticulous research on participation in U.S. elections dating back to 1788, this important new work provides comprehensive turnout statistics for general and  primary elections for presidential, congressional, and state gubernatorial races. Extensive graphs and tables detail over two centuries of trends:

  • Turnout data presented in 20-year periods
  • Voter turnout by party affiliation
  • State level data