Navigation Aids

 
 
 
 
 
Research Guides
FindIt:

Sidebar

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Main Content

U.S.Elections: Historical and Contemporary - Research Guide

The following guide is designed to assist in locating information on U.S. elections at the federal level. References to both printed works and Internet sources are included.

CONTENTS

1. Background Information on Elections
2. Biographical Information about Candidates/Elected Officials
3. Election Statistics (Votes cast, etc.)
4. Voter Registration and Turnout
5. Campaign Finance (Financial Disclosure, Honoraria, PACs etc.)
6. Roll Call Votes
7. Interest Group Ratings
8. Political Parties (Historical Sources)
9. Party Conventions & Platforms


I. Background Information on Elections

How to Research Elections. Fenton S. Martin, Robert U. Goehlert. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2000.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK1976 .M373 2000]

Guide to the U.S. Elections. 6th edition. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2010.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 1967 .C662 2010], v. 1-2
Contains narrative material on the function of party conventions, summaries of each party convention with convention ballots, and data for Presidential, Congressional, and gubernatorial elections.

CQ Weekly. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly.
Online covers 1983-present. Includes substantial information about Presidential and Congressional races, including profiles of the latter by state. An election issue appears shortly after each November election. There are also special issues reporting on the party conventions. Each weekly issue has its own index on the back cover and there are quarterly and annual indexes with the bound volumes. Earlier, 1965- forward, available in the Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 1 .C66.

CQ Almanac. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1948 - .
[Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK 1 .C66], 1952 - present, latest ten years in Reference.
Offers detailed articles on elections and provides votes and percentages for Congressional and Gubernatorial candidates by state. Selected roll-call votes are also given. Subject index at back.

Elections A to Z. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2008. 3rd ed.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK1976 .M57 2008]

Martin, Fenton S. CQ's Resource Guide to Modern Elections: an Annotated Bibliography, 1960-1996. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c1999.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK1976 .M37 1999]


2. Biographical Information about Candidates and Elected Officials

Official Congressional Directory - from FDsys, 1997/98- present.
Also available in print [Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 1011.], 41st Cong- present, latest at Reference Desk
Biographical entries, district maps, and election statistics for Senators and Representatives for the last three elections.
Members and Committees - from ProQuest Congressional
Choose "Members & Committees" on the left. Includes bills sponsored (1989-present), campaign contributors (1987-present), campaign finance reports (1989-present), financial disclosures (1991-2006), floor statements (1985-present), floor votes (1987-present), and personal profiles.
Almanac of American Politics. (National Journal)
Choose "Elected Officials". Biographical information on Governors, Senators, and Representatives. Includes group ratings, National Journal rating, key recent votes, and election results. Print version: Washington, DC: Barone and Co., 1972 - . [Van Pelt Reference Desk: JK 1012 .A456], latest (published every two years); earlier in stacks.

Congressional Quarterlys politics in America.. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
[Van Pelt Reference Desk: JK 1010 .P642],1990-present, latest at Reference Desk
Three to four page profiles of Governors, Senators, and Representatives. Covers campaign finances, voting studies, key votes, and interest group ratings.

United States. Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 - present.
Print: covers 1774-2005 [Van Pelt Stacks: JK 1010 .U5 2005]

Congressional Quarterly's Candidates '96: Profiles of Presidential Candidates. Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly Inc., c1996.
[Van Pelt Stacks: E888 .C36 1996]

3. Election Statistics (Votes Cast, etc.)

ONLINE

Clerk of the House Election Statistics
Choose Members, then election statistics. Biennial election data from 1920 to present. Vote counts from every state and territory in the US for congressional and presidential elections.

American National Election Studies
Time series data from surveys conducted during U.S. presidential and congressional election years, 1948-present.

Pennsylvania Election Statistics: 1789-2006 - The Wilkes University Election Statistics Project
This site is a compilation of county level voting returns for the state of Pennsylvania for the statewide elections for the offices of President, Governor, and Senator from 1789 to 2004. It includes the returns, cites sources, and provides maps of each election.

U.S. Presidential Elections, 1860-1996
Maps from University of Virginia, extends back to 1860. Percent popular vote.

PRINT

Guide to the U.S. Elections. 6th edition. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2010.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK1967 .C662 2010]
Contains narrative material on the function of party conventions, summaries of each party convention with convention ballots, and data for Presidential, Congressional, and gubernatorial elections.

America Votes. Washington, DC: Elections Research Center, Congressional Quarterly, 1956 - .
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 1967 .A8], 1956/57 - .
Annual. Each state entry gives votes for President, Governor and Senator, as well as Congressional district data for recent Congressional elections. County level figures for the most recent elections are provided.

America at the polls: a handbook of American presidential election statistics. Compiled by Alice V. McGillivray, Richard M. Scammon, and Rhodes Cook.. Washington, D.C. : CQ ; London : Eurospan [distributor],. 2005.
Vol. 2. Kennedy to Bush, 1960 - 2004. [Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK524 .A73 2005], Volume 2 only. See Volume 1 below.

America at the polls: a handbook of American presidential election statistics. Compiled and edited by Alice V. McGillivray and Richard M. Scammon. Washington, DC: Elections Research Center, Congressional Quarterly, 1994.
Vol 1. Harding to Eisenhower, 1920 - 1956 [Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 524 .a73 1994]
Vol. 2. Kennedy to Clinton, 1960 - 1992.[Van Pelt Library: JK 524 .a73 1994]

Cook, Rhodes. United States Presidential Primary Elections, 1968-1996: a Handbook of Election Statistics. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2000.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK522 .C66 2000]

Cook, Rhodes. United States Presidential Primary Elections, 2000-2004: a Handbook of Election Statistics. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2007.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK522 .C662 2007]

Glashan, Roy R. American Governors and Gubernatorial Elections, 1775 - 1978. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1979.
[Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK 2447 .G53]
Contains the name, birthplace, beginning date of office for all governors; votes for major candidates; and memorable quotes.

Goldstein, Michael L. Guide to the [xxxx] presidential election. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly.
1992 [Van Pelt Stacks:JK526 1992b]
1996 [Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK526 1996]
2000 [Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK526 2000]

McGillivray, Alice V. Presidential Primaries and Caucuses 1992: A Handbook of Election Statistics. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1992.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 522 .M34 1992]
Provides election results for all candidates receiving ten or more percent of the vote, in the 38 states holding primaries in 1992. The caucus/convention systems for the remaining twelve states are described.

McGillivray, Alice V. Congressional and Gubernatiorial Primaries: 1993-1994: A Handbook of Election Statistics. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1995.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 2074 .M48 1995]
Gives statistics for the Republican and Democratic primaries held in 1993 and 1994 for gubernatorial and Congressional seats in each state. For 1991-1992 data see JK 2074. M48 1993.

Presidential Elections, 1789-2008.. Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c2010.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK528 .P75 2010]

Rusk, Jerrod G. A Statistical History of the American Electorate. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2001.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 1967 .R87 2001]
Gives electoral votes, popular vote, and vote by party for states, and popular and party votes by county.

Stanley, Harold W. Vital Statistics on American Politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 274 .S74] latest, 2009/10
Gives electoral votes, popular vote, and vote by party for states, and popular and party votes by county. Earlier editions at [Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 274 .S74] ---

Burnham, W. Dean. Presidential Ballots, 1836-1892. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1955.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 524 .B8]

Robinson, Edgar Eugene. The Presidential Vote 1896-1932. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1934.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 524 .R6]

Robinson, Edgar Eugene. They Voted for Roosevelt; the Presidential Vote, 1932-1944. New York, Octagon Books, 1970 [c1947]
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK1967 .R6 1970]

Runyon, John H. Source Book of American Presidential Campaign and Election Statistics, 1948-1968. New York: F. Ungar, 1971.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 524 .R83]
In addition to convention data and voting statistics, lists Presidential campaign staffs, campaign itineraries, and minor party voting.

Dubin, Michael J.United States Congressional elections, 1788-1997:the official results of the elections of the 1st through 105th Congresses.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK1967 .D77 1998]
Provides data at state and congressional district levels for Senate and House races.

4. Voter Registration and Turnout

Voting and Registration - U.S. Census Bureau

Voter turnout in the United States, 1788-2009. / Curtis Gans ; with Matthew Mulling. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2011.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK1967 .G36 2011]

U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Current Population Reports. P-20. Voting and Registration in the Election of [date]. (biennial)
[Lippincott Library : HA 195 .A53]
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 1967 .V685], latest.
Numbers in the P-20 series are 143, 174, 192, 228, 230, 253, 293, 322, 344, 370, 383, 405, 414, 440, 466.

Voter Turnout from 1945 to 1997: A Global Report on Political Participation. (biennial),1964 -. Stockholm, Sweden : International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 1997.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JF 1001 .V67 1997]

5. Campaign Finance (Financial Disclosure, Honoraria, PACs etc.)

Federal Election Commission: Campaign Finance Reports and Data
Candidate, PAC, party summaries. Financial Disclosure reports. Reports from 1993 to the present.

ProQuest Congressional
Includes member financial disclosure from 1991 to the present, campaign finance data from 1989 to the present, and Congressional member information back to the 104th Congress, information on political parties and campaign contributions from individual and PACs from 1987 to the present, Choose "Members" from menu.

Opensecrets.org
Website for the Center for Responsive Politics. Includes Donor Lookup back to 1990.

Project Vote Smart
Choose "Campaign Finances." Biographical information, campaign finances, interest group ratings, and voting records. The information for Congress and the President is provided by the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Library on Money and Politics.

Almanac of Federal PACS. Arlington, VA: Amward Publications, 1986 - present.
[Van Pelt Library: JK 1991 .A732], Latest in reference stacks.
Latest edition includes information on PACs contributing $5,000 or more to candidates seeking election to the House or Senate. Some earlier editions covered PACs giving $50,000 or more.

Fritz, Sara and Dwight Morris. Handbook of Campaign Spending: Money in the 1992 Congressional Races. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1994.
[Van Pelt Library: JK 1991 .F75 1994]
Provides expenditures for House races during the two year cycle of 1991-1992, and Senate races for the six year cycle from 1987-1992. Top spenders also listed. Earlier edition at Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 1991 F95 1992

Makinson, Larry. The Cash Constituents of Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1992.
[Van Pelt Library: JK 1991 .M257 1992]
A distillation of Open Secrets (below). Profiles are abbreviated and arranged by state.

Makinson, Larry. Open Secrets: the Encyclopedia of Congressional Money & Politics. 2nd ed. Washington, DC.: Congressional Quarterly, 1992.
[Van Pelt Stacks: JK 1991 .M26 1992]
Two page profiles for each member of Congress listing contributions from industry, labor unions, and other organizations. There are also profiles of the 37 standing committees.

Morris, Dwight and Murielle E. Gamache. Handbook of Campaign Spending: Money in the 1992 Congressional Races. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1994.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 1991 .M78 1994]
Provides expenditures for House races during the two year cycle of 1981-1992, and Senate races for the six year cycle from 1987-1992.

United States. Congress. House. Committee of Standards of Official Conduct. Financial Disclosure Reports of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives of the...[House Document].
[See ProQuest Congressional]

United States. Congress. Senate. Report of the Secretary of the Senate. [Senate Document].
[See ProQuest Congressional]

Vital Statistics on Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc .
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 1041 .V58], latestom reference.
Includes tables on election expenditures and political action committee contributions.

6. Roll Call Votes

ProQuest Congressional
Includes voting records in Congress from 1988 to the present and Key Votes in Congress from 1987 to the present.

House Roll Call Votes
[http://clerk.house.gov/legisAct/votes.html]
Roll votes back to 101st Congress, 2nd Session (1990).

Senate Roll Call Votes
Choose Legislation & Records, then Votes. Roll call votes back to 101st Congress, 1st Session (1989)

Open Congress
Voting records for current congress persons. Features such as "most often votes with," "least often votes with," "Republican most votes with," "Democrat most votes with."

Bosnich, Victor W. Congressional Voting Guide: A Ten Year Compilation. 4th ed. Bronx, NY: Wilson Co., 1992.
[Van Pelt Reference: JK 1051 .B67 1992]
A ten-year compilation of voting records of members of the 102nd Congress on 144 major bills.

U.S. Congress. Congressional Record - from HeinOnline
Includes the complete Congressional Record Bound version, as well as the daily version back to 1980. It also includes the three predecessor titles: Annals of Congress (1789-1824), Register of Debates (1824-1837) and Congressional Globe (1833-1873)

CQ Weekly
Includes recent House and Senate votes. The Congressional Quarterly Almanac [Van Pelt Library Reference] has a separate appendix covering roll call votes.


7. Interest Group Ratings

Congressional Report Cards
Provides information about the level of agreement between members of Congress and particular interest groups. Covers over 75 organizations. Search by member, state or zip code.

Sharp, J. Michael. The Directory of Congressional Voting Scores and Interest Group Ratings. 4th ed. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2006.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK1051 .S555 2006 ]
Contains for voting scores generated by CQ and ratings from ten interest groups. Coverage back to 1947.

ACLU National Scorecard - ACLU
Search by state or zip code, gives selected bills and the percentage of times officials voted with the ACLU.

National Environmental Scorecard - League of Conservation Voters

See also: Almanac of American Politics, which presents ratings for a three-year period, Politics in America, which provides voting study scores and four interest group ratings, and the Congressional Quarterly Almanac, which offers group ratings in the voting studies appendix.


8. Political Parties (Current and Historical Information)

Political Party Websites:
| American Reform Party | Communist Party, U.S.A. | Constitution Party | Democratic Party | Green Party | Labor Party | Libertarian Party | Natural Law Party | Reform Party | Republican National Committee | Socialist Party | Socialist Labor Party

Political Parties in America. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2001.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK2261 .P636 2001]
Short articles on the origins, development, and major policy ideas of major parties and many third parties in U.S. History.

Historical Dictionary of United States Political Parties. Bass, Harold Franklin. Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2000.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK2261 .B345 2000]

Kruschke, Earl R. The encyclopedia of third parties in America. Edited by Immanuel Ness, James Ciment. Armonk, N.Y. : Sharpe Reference, c2000.
[Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK2261 .E474 2000] .

Kruschke, Earl R. Encyclopedia of Third Parties in the United States. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1991.
[Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK 2261 .K78 1991]
Descriptions of eighty-one representative third parties. References are provided following each entry.

Political Parties & Elections in the United States: an Encyclopedia. L. Sandy Maisel, ed. New York: Garland Publisher, 1991.
[Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK 2261 .P633 1991]
An alphabetically arranged encyclopedia covering the history and operation of political parties, past elections, and important figures in the electoral process.

Renstrom, Peter G. and Chester B. Rodgers. The Electoral Politics Dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1989.
[Van Pelt Reference Stacks: JK 1971 .R46 1989]
Dictionary of terms, concepts, cases, and phrases. Each entry gives both a definition and the significance of the term.

Schlessinger, Arthur M. History of U.S. Political Parties. New York: Chelsea House, 1973.
[Van Pelt Stacks: JK 2261 .S35, 4vols.]
Consists of primary documents about major and minor political parties, 1789-1971.

9. Party Conventions and Platforms

Political Party Platforms from The American Presidency Project at UCSB.
Republican platforms from 1956 to the present and Democratic Party platforms from 1840 to the present. Selective other party platforms.

National party conventions, 1831-2008.. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2010.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK2255 .N373 2010]
Discusses the origins and development of the party and convention systems, provides descriptions of conventions for parties receiving 2% of the popular vote in Presidential elections since 1831, as well as party profiles.

Bain, Richard C. and Judith H. Parris. Convention Decisions and Voting Records. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1973.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 2255 .B3 1973]

Historic Documents on Presidential Elections, 1787-1988. Michael Nelson, ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1991.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 1965 .H56 1991]
Contains the text of or excerpts from seventy important documents representing significant activities of particular Presidents, major events in the development of the Presidency, and highlights of particular elections. Includes selected party platforms, speeches, and debates.

Johnson, Donald Bruce. National Party Platforms, 1840-1972. 5th ed. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1973.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: JK 2255 .J64 1973]
Chronologically arranged compendium of party platforms.

Johnson, Donald Bruce. National Party Platforms of 1980. Supplement to National Party Platforms, 1984-1976.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: JK 2255 .J643]
*