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Political Handbook of the World, 2020-21

Oxford University Press


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On the Murray Library shelves:

J - Political Science

JA - Political science (General)
JC - Political theory. The state. Theories of the state
JK - Political institutions  - United States
JL - Political institutions  - Canada, Latin America, etc
JN - Political institutions - Europe
JQ - Political institutions  - Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc
JS - Local government. Municipal government
JV - Colonies and colonization, Emigration and Immigration. International migration
JZ - International relations

K - Law (General)

KD    United Kingdom and Ireland
KDZ    America, North America, OAS
KE    Canada
KF    United States
KG-KH    Latin America
KJ-KK    Europe
KL-KW    Asia, Eurasia, Africa, Pacific, Antarctica
KZ    Law of Nations

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Top Picks

  • Odum Institute: The Odum Institute has a large archive of public opinion data, including more than 1,000 Harris Polls from as early as 1958, the National Network of State Polls collection (775 studies from more than 25 states), the Carolina Poll (1977–2005), Monmouth University Polling Institute polls (2011+), the Southern Focus Poll (1992–2001), and some USA Today polls (1984–1993).
  • Supreme Court Database : Contains over two hundred pieces of information about each case decided by the Court, including variables about background and identification (e.g., docket numbers, originating court, chronology), substance of the case (e.g., legal provisions at issue), outcomes (e.g., winning party, alteration of precedent), and voting by the justices (e.g., size of winning coalition, who dissented). Currently covers 1946-2014 terms. Data available in multiple formats. Site also supports various kinds of online analysis.
  • Martin-Quinn Judicial Ideology Scores, 1937-2014

Measures of judicial ideology showing the relative location of U.S. Supreme Court justices on an ideological continuum The Justices dataset contains the ideal point estimates and other quantities of interest for each justice in each term. The Court dataset contains court-specific quantities, including the estimated location of the median justice. Datasets in .txt, Stata, Excel, and SPSS formats.

Estimates ideal points for each Supreme Court justice, president, senator, and representative for each year from 1951 to 2011 allowing for comparison of ideology across institutions using a common measure. Also provides Supreme Court and congressional medians for each year from 1951 to 2011. Data in Excel.

Provides real-time data on roll call votes, members' of Congress voting histories and their ideology (using NOMINATE scores, a way of spatially measuring ideology on a liberal-conservative economic axis and on a salient "issues of the day" axis), and party ideology scores for each individual Congress back to 1789. Also has a searchable interface and many visualization options. Data in csv and JSON formats; also accessible via the Rvoteview package.

Ornstein and Mann's classic print volume will now only be online. Tables cover member demographics, congressional elections, campaign finance, committees, staff and operating expenses, workload and productivity, action on the federal budget, polarization and voting alignments. Data in Excel format; dates vary, but generally 1950-present.

Compiles information at the level of the individual legislator on biography, party membership, elections, and committee membership. Legislative data include roll call votes for each member, roll calls coded by issue, roll call text, presidential requests for legislative action and roll calls held in response. Data in delimited, STATA, SPSS, and SAS formats. 1789-1989.

Fabulous site containing lots of information on the presidency, especially a fully searchable database of the Papers of the Presidents back to Washington, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (Carter to G.W. Bush), and the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents (2009-current). Also has party platforms back to 1840, convention speeches, candidates' remarks, election debates back to 1960, executive orders and proclamations, presidential approval back to 1941, vetoes, state of the union addresses, press briefings, and more.

 Legislative Data

Project coding various documents and data according to a detailed topical classification scheme to enable an analysis of policymaking activities across time. Coded series include Congressional hearings, public laws, roll call votes, Congressional Quarterly articles, budget authority, Presidential State of the Union speeches, Executive Orders, Supreme Court cases, a sample of New York Times articles, and Gallup’s Most Important Problem public opinion series. Data in .csv; 1945-2013.

Provides information about more than 400,000 bills introduced in the U.S. Congress along with extensive information about each bill's progress and sponsor. The bills database uses Poole and Rosenthal's ICPSR member IDs to incorporate biographical and institutional position information about each bill's sponsor. Also classifies each bill's title according to the topic coding system of the Policy Agendas Project. Each bill is designated to be primarily about one major topic and one subtopic. Data in .tsv format; 1947-present.

Roll call votes from the House (83rd Congress/1953-present) and Senate (91st Congress/1969-present) utilizing an extensive coding for procedural vote type, party unity, Southern/Northern coalitions, presidential position. Also includes Policy Agenda codes.

Dataset estimating the legislative significance of all enacted public laws from 1877-1994 (more than 37,000). Significance is determined by using the ratings of both contemporaneous and retrospective sources. Each law includes Congress number and session, date of passage, public law number, bill number, originating committee, description, and page length. See Clinton and Lapinski (2006). “Measuring Legislative Accomplishment, 1877-1994,” American Journal of Political Science 50(1):232-49.

This dataset contains metadata for every bill introduced, including sponsors, cosponsors, committee actions, floor votes and a summary, along with the data of the last modification to the bill. Data in XML from 93rd Congress (1973) to present.

Official GPO bulk data repository for Congressional bill text and status from the 113th Congress (2013-2014) to present. Data can be retrieved in either XML or JSON formats.

Nonprofit dedicated to tracking legislation and legislators in the US. Pulls in bills and resolution data and text from THOMAS and GPO (103rd Congress/1993-present; selected historical data), provides voting records of representatives and senators back to 1789 (THOMAS for recent and VOTEVIEW data for older votes), and biographical (1789-present) and committee data (93rd Congress/1973-present) from various sources.

Bulk download of bills and legislative tracking information for Congress and the 50 states. Requires free registration. Downloads in JSON, XML, and CSV. Generally, late 2000s-present.

Provides 1-2 page summary statistics of the legislative activity of each Congress back to the 80th (1947-48). Each contains things like how many measures were introduced, reported, passed, and enacted into law; how many votes and which kinds; and how many nominations were confirmed or unconfirmed.

Interactive visualization for exploring patterns of lawmaking in Congress from the 93rd Congress (1973)- 114th Congress (2015-16). Includes information about the legislative histories, topics and sponsors of more than 250,000 bills and resolutions. Can be filtered by individual member, by party, by topic, and more. Bulk data downloads available.

Partisanship and Ideology

Tausanovitch and Warshaw's measures of political liberalism/conservatism of states, congressional districts, state senate and assembly districts, counties, and cities using responses to survey questions by 275,000 Americans who participated in the Annenberg National Election Study and the Cooperative Congressional Election Study from 2000 to 2014. Data is coded using district boundaries from both before and after the 2010 Census redistricting. Data in .csv format.

Presidential support scores based on Poole and Rosenthal's Voteview roll call data using a different method of inferring the president's position. House 1792-present; Senate 1955-present. Data in csv.

George C. Edwards, III (TAMU) calculated four indexes of presidential support based on roll call votes in Congress using CQ Almanac coding of the president's position: overall support, nonunanimous support, single-issue vote support, and CQ Key Vote support. Support scores by member of Congress as well as yearly averages. Data in .txt and Excel formats; 1953-2015.

Member Characteristics and Service

Contains "variables describing congressional service and selected biographical characteristics for each person who has served in the United States Congress" through the 104th Congress. The congressional service variables "include political party affiliation, district, state and region represented, and exact and cumulative dates of service in each Congress and each chamber, as well as total congressional service. The biographical variables cover state and region of birth, education, military service, occupation, other political offices held, relatives who also have held congressional office, reason for leaving each Congress, and occupation and political offices held subsequent to service in Congress."

Biographical directory of all members of Congress from 1774 to present. Can search by name, position, state, party, year, or Congress number. For bulk download of data, see Govtrack's github page. 1774-present.

Compiled by the House Clerk, various tables about women in Congress. Includes a full list of all female representatives and senators by Congress and by state; committee assignments (by committee); female committee chairs; women of color; and more. 1917-present.

Compiled by the House Clerk, various tables about Black Americans in Congress. Includes a full list of all Black Representatives and Senators by Congress and by state; committee assignments (by committee); committee chairs; Black Caucus leaders, and more. 1870-present.

Data on more than 300 scandals involving sitting members of Congress. Each scandal is defined as being a sex, financial, political, or other type of scandal. Each record also codes the scandal “break date” (the first instance of the scandal being reported in a news source) and the scandal salience (number of times the scandal was mentioned in the New York Times in the thirty days following the break date). Data in .csv.

Congressional Districts

Various demographic data at state and CD for recent years. In particular, includes helpful explanations of how different electoral geographies relate to each other with sheets mapping those relationships. Data in Google sheets.

"The data set includes a wide range of economic, social and geographic information for every U.S. congressional district. The variables range from such basic information as size of each district (in square miles), the population, and the number unemployed (at the time of each census) to much more specialized information like the number of beds in VA hospitals in the district or whether the district is coastal." Compiled by Scott Adler. Data available in .csv for each Congress.

Contains a wide range of demographic and political variables for congressional districts of the 87th-104th Congresses. Used in David Lublin's book, The paradox of representation: racial gerrymandering and minority interests in Congress. Data in .csv and tabular format.

Digital boundary definitions for every U.S. Congressional District in use between 1789 and 2012 provided by scholars at UCLA. Boundaries available as shapefiles or GeoJSON definitions. Includes extensive documentation of how boundaries for districts were constructed. For 2016 CD boundaries, see the United States Districts project.

Provides detailed conflict profiles for selected African regions and countries. Historical patterns of violence, regional dynamics and key actors are explored.

COW seeks to facilitate the collection, dissemination, and use of accurate and reliable quantitative data in international relations

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. Its mission is to provide high quality statistics for Europe.

Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions. Choose a country from the drop down lists.

Covers all the countries of the world with which the United States has relations. Each report contains info on bilateral relations with the U.S., travel, and business.

  • FAOSTAT: FAOSTAT is an on-line and multilingual database currently containing over 1 million time-series records covering international statistics in the following areas: Production, Trade, Food Balance Sheets, Food Aid Shipments, Fertilizer and Pesticides, Land Use and Irrigation, Forest Products, Fishery Products, Population, Agricultural Machinery.
  • Dataverse: Portal for research data from the U.S. and around the world. Discover, share, preserve, cite, explore, and analyze research data.
  • UNData: UNdata is a web-based data service for the global user community. It brings international statistical databases within easy reach of users through a single-entry point. Users can search and download a variety of statistical resources compiled by the United Nations (UN) statistical system and other international agencies. The numerous databases or tables collectively known as "datamarts" contain over 60 million data points and cover a wide range of statistical themes including agriculture, crime, communication, development assistance, education, energy, environment, finance, gender, health, labour market, manufacturing, national accounts, population and migration, science and technology, tourism, transport and trade.
  • Constitution Finder - web guide to constitutions of nations
  • International Court of Justice

Country Studies

In-depth analysis of of the historical, social, political and governmental institutions and systems of countries throughout the world.

Country Background Notes

Descriptions of countries covering history, people, economy and political conditions by the US State Department

Database of Political Instititions

The Database of Political Institutions 2020 (DPI2020) presents institutional and electoral results data such as measures of checks and balances, tenure and stability of the government, identification of party affiliation and ideology, and fragmentation of opposition and government parties in the legislature. The current version of the database expands its coverage to about 180 countries for 45 years, 1975-2020.

Manifesto database

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.
On this website you find the Manifesto Project Dataset containing the parties' policy preferences generated by the project. You also find coded and uncoded election manifestos of the parties in the dataset as well as information and links to many applications for the dataset, related projects and publications etc.

Quality of Government Institute (CoG)

The Standard Data includes over 2000, coded variables divided into sixteen thematic categories such as Quality of Government, Economy, Media, Environment, and Political System etc.
Read the Codebook to determine if the variable you need is covered in the dataset. Also includes several newer datasets, specific to the EU.

Ruler, Elections and Irregular Governance (REIGN) dataset

REIGN Dataset Author: Curtis Bell
"The Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance (REIGN) dataset describes political conditions in every country each and every month. These conditions include the tenures and personal characteristics of world leaders, the types of political institutions and political regimes in effect, election outcomes and election announcements, and irregular events like coups, coup attempts and other violent conflicts. The dataset covers more than 200 countries for each month they were independent, January 1950 to the present. REIGN was created by gathering original data, compiling other datasets on political conditions, reviewing their coding rules, and updating all information to the present." [About]

V-Dem Institute

The V-Dem project distinguishes between seven high-level principles of democracy: electoral, liberal, participatory, deliberative, egalitarian, majoritarian and consensual, and collects data to measure these principles. World-wide coverage from 1900 to the present.

The Observatory for Political Conflict and Democracy (PolDem)

"The Observatory for Political Conflict and Democracy (PolDem) is a platform that produces and houses data on protest events, election campaigns, and issue-specific public contestation covering a wide-range of European countries..."Years of coverage vary.


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