Catalist Academic Subscription

by John Sides on August 22, 2011 · 2 comments

in Campaigns and elections,Data

A while back, I posted about some of the data that Catalist had gathered from the 2008 campaign, and lobbied for those data to be released.  This occasioned a back-and-forth in comments about the reasonableness of my request (and the undue snarkiness with which I expressed it).  Thus, it seems only fair to post about this:

Catalist LLC, in conjunction with Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences, under the leadership of Professor Stephen Ansolabehere and Yale Assistant Professor Eitan Hersh, is proud to announce the creation of the new Catalist Academic Subscription. This subscription provides universities access for academic purposes only to Catalist¹s national database of registered and voting aged Americans.
We believe that by providing this access to academics, the study of electoral politics will change forever. The Catalist Academic Subscription provides a national, query-able database, complete with vote histories and available at all levels of geography. In addition to political data, an enormous amount of demographic data (commercial data, census data, specialty data, predictive models) is attached to every name.  The database is continually updated.

For $10,000 per year, subscribers get:

In addition to the read-only access to our entire national database that we are offering, those who sign up will also be provided with a 1% sample of the entire national database with all of the voter file data included.  Additionally, if you have your own lists that you would like to be able to query interactively with our data, the subscription now includes unlimited matching of outside lists. Should you want to download data, those lists may be purchased on an ad hoc basis at discounted rates.

Ten grand isn’t chump change for many academics, but, for those interested in elections, the data are extraordinary.  Of course, I’m still interested in the data discussed in my original posts—i.e., campaign contacts—but beggars can’t be choosers.

Interested parties can contact Bob Blaemire at Catalist.  There will also be a presentation at the American Political Science Association meeting on September 1 at 6:15 PM.


John Coleman August 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

My understanding from my inquiry and a colleague’s is that you get access to crosstabs, not raw data for models and analysis.

Paul G. August 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I’ve been trying to touch base with Catalist to discuss alternative pricing mechanisms. That price tag is way more than chump change; it’s out of reach for almost everyone. Catalist has done absolutely amazing work in voter registration and contact; using their database for drawing samples and vote validation is great. But somehow there has to be a way to get a consortium set up.

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