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Politics and International Relations: Public Policy II

Public Policy Resources

Here are a few important resources for tracking policy, from the most recent policy discussions to a more   historical view.

  1. CQ Weekly - Provides a summary of the events having taken place in Congress that week. Includes   texts of important  documents, summary of action on major bills, and the voting record of members.   Much of the information later appears in the CQ Almanac.
  2. CQ Almanac - Provides analysis of U.S. congressional legislation during the preceding year. Tracks legislation throughout its course in Congress. Coverage begins in 1945.
  3. Congress & the Nation - Tracks legislative activity of the four preceding years.
  4. How to Trace Federal Regulations
  5. Congressional Research Service reports
  6. Primo (selected subject heading examples)
        Taxation -- United States -- Legislation
        Immigrants - Government Policy - United States
        Parental leave - United States

Use the Intergovernmental Organization Search Engine (a Google custom search) to search across hundreds of IGO websites

Quick links for government and IGO information: These are some of the top resources for information from governments and IGOs.

Use the Non-governmental Organization Search Engine to search across NGO websites. Sites were chosen based on their consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and also collated from University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, Duke University Libraries' NGO Research Guide, and the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).Europa

What are Think Tanks?

Think tank is a phrase used to describe organizations (usually non-profit) which conduct public policy research and analysis.

They often publish papers based on their research and make them available for free on their web sites.

Some think tanks are non-partison, but others advocate particular political positions. Be sure to take this into consideration when evaluating their material.

List of Think Tanks

Harvard Think Tank Search
Non-governmental Organizations Search
Intergovernmental Organization Search Engine

Polling data

 Odum Institute     

Social science data curated and archived by the Odum Institute Data Archive at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Key collections include the primary holdings of the Louis Harris Data Center, the National Network of State Polls, and other Southern-focused public opinion data.


Pew Research Center    

a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research does not take policy positions. A subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Some basic data sets  




The statistical office of the European Union


NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) Current and historical; NBER is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. Provides data sets about macroeconomics, industry, international trade, individual income and expenditure data, etc.

UN Demographic and Social Statistics 1948-present; United Nations Statistics Division ; demographic characteristics of countries, including population, households, housing, income, health and more.

UN Demographic Yearbook

Demographic data

Census Bureau Economic Statistics  Dates vary; U.S. Census Bureau gateway provides access to data from various economic and business-related censuses, surveys, and other programs, including: Economic Census, County Business Patterns, Annual Survey of Manufactures, Foreign Trade Industry snapshots from census data available at


Other social science data sets

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics (United Nations) This link opens in a new window Presents current economic and social statistics for more than 200 countries and territories of the world, current.    


Comparative Agendas Project
    "The Comparative Agendas Project collects and organizes data from archived sources to track policy outcomes across countries."--from web site    


Election and Polling Data

MIT Election Lab         

MIT's Election Lab "supports advances in election science by collecting, analyzing, and sharing core data and findings... [and] aim to build relationships with election officials and others to help apply new scientific research to the practice of democracy in the United States."


Electoral Data for Counties in the United States: Presidential and Congressional Races, 1840-1972 (ICPSR)


United States Historical Election Returns Series (ICPSR)


State Elections Websites (        

Links to all 50 states' election office websites for state-wide voting information.


Vital Statistics on the Presidency (through 2012)        

Statistics on presidential selection and elections, including primary and party convention results, nomination methods by state, popular and electoral votes by state, presidential and Congressional party alignment, voter turnout by state, national vote share by demographic group.


List of US official election results by state (Wikipedia)        

Provides inks to each state's election division and official returns, with coverage dates for available returns.


Dave Leips' Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections             

This dataset provides official election results for presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial popular elections in the United States. Data are collected from various official sources. Data from this internet site are included in Data-Planet database.


Election Statistics, 1920 to Present            

"Since 1920, the Clerk of the House has collected and published the official vote counts for federal elections from the official sources among the various states and territories.


United States Historical Election Returns Series            

" ICPSR's holdings of historical election data cover the years 1788-1990 and consist of several discrete datasets that contain county- and state-level returns for all elections to the offices of president, governor, United States senator, and United States representative. ICPSR distributes three major general election data collections: United States Historical Election Returns, 1824-1968 (ICPSR 0001), General Election Data for the United States, 1950-1990 (ICPSR 0013), and United States Historical Election Returns, 1788-1823 (ICPSR 0079). "


 U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)            

Includes data on voter registration by county for each state. Includes other information on voter registration.


Congressional Voting Data


Voteview allows users to view every congressional roll call vote in American history on a map of the United States and on a liberal-conservative ideological map including information about the ideological positions of voting Senators and Representatives (Voteview About page)


US Budget Information

 Budget of the US Government (             

Background, basic information, and links            

"USA Spending tracks federal spending to ensure taxpayers can see how their money is being used in communities across America. Learn more on how this money was spent with tools to help you navigate spending from top to bottom."


Congressional Budget Office (CBO)            

"Since 1975, CBO has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process. Each year, the agency’s economists and budget analysts produce dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates for proposed legislation. CBO is strictly nonpartisan; conducts objective, impartial analysis; and hires its employees solely on the basis of professional competence without regard to political affiliation. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate summarizes the methodology underlying the analysis."

These resources provide quick, easy access to federal and/or state legislative information, and encourage users to keep up with politics and policy through convenient tracking tools.

Best Bets

Additional State Tracking