New Data on Ideology and Money in Politics

by John Sides on July 25, 2013 · 3 comments

in Data

Adam Bonica writes:

I am pleased to announce the public release of the Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections (DIME). The database was initially developed as part of the project on Ideology in the Political Marketplace, which is an on-going effort to conduct a comprehensive mapping of the ideology of political elites, interest groups, and donors using the common-space CFscore scaling methodology. [JMS: For details, see here.). It includes records for over 100 million political contributions made by individuals and organizations to local, state, and federal elections spanning a period from 1979 to 2012. A corresponding database of candidates and committees provides additional information on state and federal elections. In addition, the database includes common-space ideal points for a comprehensive set of candidates for state and federal office, interest groups, and individual donors.

What this translates into:

The common-space CFscores allow for direct distance comparisons of the ideal points of a wide range of political actors from state and federal politics. In total, the database includes ideal point estimates for 51,572 candidates and 6,408 political committees as recipients and 13.7 million individuals and 1.3 million organizations as donors.

Here, “ideal points” means an estimate of ideology.  In essence, Bonica has developed an innovative way to measure the relative liberalism or conservatism of millions of political actors.  It’s a treasure trove, and I hope people will make use of it.  You can see some of the ways in which he’s used these data at his blog.

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