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Michigan State University

Political Science / Public Policy Resources: Elections, Campaigning, Etc.


Selected resources on elections statistics, plus other web sites related to elections, campaigning, and politics.

Related Guides

U.S.Elections: Historical and Contemporary - Research Guide.  Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania.   If you see an item you are interested in, we should have it available in our library.

Selected Resources


America Votes: Presidential Campaign Memorabilia : Winners share the limelight with the defeated in this exhibit of U.S. presidential campaign memorabilia drawn primarily from the holdings of the Duke University Special Collections Library. The exhibit illustrates the nation's presidential elections in letters, sheet music, leaflets, buttons, and bumper stickers.

Ballot Measures Database : Database of nearly 160 proposals or initiatives on November statewide ballots, searchable by state and/or topic. Courtesy of the National Council of State Legislatures.

CQ Voting and Elections Collection : Integrates a wealth of data, authoritative analyses, concise explanations, and historical material to provide a powerful research and reference tool on the American voter, major and minor political parties, campaigns and elections, and historical and modern races for Congress, the presidency, and governorships.

Election Maps and Data (1789-2012) : A wealth of information from the American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Federal Election Commission Campaign Finance and Contributions - search or download data of contributions and expenditures for all federal races by contributor, PAC, or candidate.

Federal Election Commission election results. Includes Excel files, 2004+. Presidential and Senate by state; House by Congressional District.

Influence Explorer State and Federal Campaign Contribution Data : It’s a data buffet! Sunlight Labs provides a site that is designed to let you query and download bulk data about government transparency. The big data set available at launch is campaign contributions at the state and federal level. Lets you specify what time cycle you want to find donations in and whether you’re looking for donations for or against a candidate. The top field lets you choose one of many other variables to search, including the amount, the contributor, the contributor’s state, the recipient’s name, the recipient’s state, etc. Also has data on earmarks, lobbying, contracts, and grants.

Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2008 - The American Museum of the Moving Image is providing television commercials for each presidential candidate from the years 1952 to 2008, along with an analysis of each major party, their advertising campaigns, and a map showing the results of each election.

Michigan Secretary of State - Campaign Finance data searchable by candidate, ballot proposal, etc.

National Institute on Money in State Politics - Tracks contributions and expenditures for candidates, PACs, committees, ballot measures, and independent expenditures for each state. Easy to use tool allows you to type in your street address to identify your districts of state representation.

On-Line Campaign Literature Archive : Collection of campaign web sites and scanned images of printed campaign literature, emphasizing California and Los Angeles elections, 1924 to present. Courtesy of UCLA Library. : Analyzes campaign finance filings in every imaginable way: by political party, zip code, state, individual donor, industry, and more. Although the front-page emphasis is federal, state-level data is available for more than half of the nation as well. The states with coverage are shown in green on the map under the Get Local! tab. The site offers profiles of state representatives, of political parties and their committees, and of the top individual donors in the current (or most recent) election. - Calls itself the most comprehensive guide to U.S. politics since 1997. It might be right. best list of candidates including good coverage of minor parties and candidates. Gives daily updates to announced candidacies for U.S. Congress, governors, and statewide races, and has useful calendar of events - primaries, caucuses, special elections, etc.

The Presidential Campaign, 1896: Cartoons & Commentary : Web site devoted to the pivotal election of 1896, based primary on newspaper accounts and cartoons. 

Presidential Elections from 1860 to 1912 : This HarpWeek website features political cartoons from Harper's Weekly, Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, Vanity Fair, Puck, Judge, and the Library of Congress Collection of American Political Prints, 1766-1866. It provides explanations of the historical context and images of each cartoon, campaign overviews, biographical sketches, a review of the era's major issues, and other valuable information. 

Presidential Elections 1789-2012 : Printable Maps  Courtesy of the

Project Vote Smart : Through a citizens' tool kit of free services, programs and materials, this national non-partisan, non-profit effort researches, tracks and provides to the public independent factual information on over 13,000 candidates and elected officials. Voting records, campaign issue positions, performance evaluations by special interests, campaign contributions, backgrounds, previous experience, and contact information are available.

Vital Statistics on American Politics : The Vital Statistics on American Politics web site offers a rich resource of data on the full spectrum of American politics. It is designed to help the reader interpret and comprehend statistical material. Included are more than 200 tables and charts plus information on elections, legislative term limits, approval ratings of Congress and the president, and the national debt. In addition, you will find statistical data on PACs, public opinion and voting, media, social policy, economic policy, and foreign and military policy.

Voting America United States Politics, 1840-2008 : Voting America provides cinematic & interactive maps, and analysis, of the Presidential elections in the US from 1840-2004. This unique resource focuses on election data to the county level (rather than state), helping users understand the nuances of our electoral history. It allows for users to compare elections as well as recognize the significance of individual elections by geographic region, political party, voter turnout, voter demographics, and more in a stimulating, visual environment.

Print Resources

The Almanac of State Legislative Elections : Voting Patterns and Demographics 2000-2006 / William Lilley III ... [et al.].  Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 2008. 3rd edition, 418pp.  Main Library JK1967 .A77 2008 :

America at the Polls, 1960-1996 : Kennedy to Clinton : a Handbook of American Presidential Election Statistics / Alice V. McGillivray, Richard M. Scammon, Rhodes Cook.  Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1998. 1002pp.  Main Library JK524 .M33 1998 : This updated 2-volume set brings together the election results of America's presidential election for the years 1920-1996. Comprehensive, officially certified election results are organized by state and presented in county-by-county detail. Readers will find summaries of popular and electoral college votes for president and tables of America's presidential elections.

America at the Polls : a Handbook of American Presidential Election Statistics. [Vol. 2], John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, 1960-2004 / [compiled by] Alice V. McGillivray, Richard M. Scammon, Rhodes Cook.  Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2005. 1175pp.  Main Library JK524 .A73 2005 : Presents summaries of state-by-state election statistics, including the popular vote, the Electoral College vote, and minority candidates for each election, along with chronologies and data on presidential primaries.

America VotesWashington : Elections Research Center, Congressional Quarterly, biennial.  Reference (1 Center) JK1967 .A8

Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections. John L. Moore, Jon P. Preimesberger, David R. Tarr. Washington : CQ Press, : c2001. 4th edition, 2 volumes. Main Library JK1967 .C66 2001 : The fourth edition of this important guide has grown to 1,818 pages (including indexes). It provides historical and contemporary information about presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections through the 2000 election. The editors add historical narrative and essays on specific issues (e.g., "The Black Vote: A Victory in Stages"; "The Eighteen-Year-Old Vote"). Essays about political parties are longer, and a chapter is added on campaign finance. Volume 1 offers a history of presidential elections, information about national party convention platforms and ballots, maps illustrating electoral vote distribution, tables of national and state votes for major and minor candidates, votes in state primaries, and a biographical directory of candidates for president and vice-president. Volume 2 covers mainly data on congressional and gubernatorial primaries and general elections and includes separate directories of all congressmen since 1789 and governors since 1776. Essays cover the history and contemporary issues related to methods of electing congressmen, senators, and governors, terms of office, congressional reapportionment, characteristics of members of Congress, and disputed elections. The volumes include illustrations and special reference information (e.g., excerpts from the Supreme Court decision on the returns in 2000; a list of Speakers of the House since 1789). Researchers needing county-level data must consult CQ's America Votes (1956- ) or state reports and Web sites, such as Iowa's Voter Center.

A Statistical History of the American Electorate / Jerrold G. Rusk.  Washington, DC : CQ Press, 2001. 708pp.  Main Library JK1967 .R87 2001 : Presents a historical picture of voting behavior in the United States covering such topics as election laws, voting participation, and presidential, House, Senate, and gubernatorial voting

United States Presidential Elections, 1788-1860 : the official Results by County and State / Michael J. Dubin.  Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., c2002. 225pp.  Main Library JK524 .D778 2002 : Presents presidential election returns from 1788 to 1860 for all counties in the United States.

Michigan Manual  / State of Michigan.  Michigan Government Documents Collection JK5830 .A1 : Includes election returns down to to the country, township, and city level for statewide offices such as governor and secretary of state.

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