Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections (DIME)

Abstract: 

The Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections (DIME) is intended as a general resource for the study of campaign finance and ideology in American politics. The database was developed as part of the project on Ideology in the Political Marketplace, which is an on-going effort to conduct a comprehensive ideological mapping of political elites, interest groups, and donors using the common-space CFscore scaling methodology (Bonica 2013). Constructing the database required a large-scale effort to compile, clean, and process data on contribution records, candidate characteristics, and election outcomes from various sources. The resulting database contains 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.

*Note: If you received a flyer regarding candidate positioning in Montana, it is regarding a Stanford research project studying the impact of information about candidate positions on turnout in judicial elections. For more information on how the scores are constructed, see the article below.

Bonica, Adam and Michael Woodruff. "A Common-Space Measure of State Supreme Court Ideology”, Forthcoming, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization. (Available at http://web.stanford.edu/~bonica/files/BW_ssc_ideology.pdf)

For an example of where these scores have been used by others see the following link on Judgepedia: http://judgepedia.org/Political_ideology_of_State_Supreme_Court_Justices. Please note that the guide provided in the study is non-partisan and does not endorse any candidate or party.

Principal Investigator: 
Adam Bonica
How to Cite this Dataset: 

Bonica, Adam. 2013. Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections: Public version 1.0 [Computer file]. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Libraries. ‹http://data.stanford.edu/dime›.

For CFscore measures of ideology, please cite:

Bonica, Adam. 2014. "Mapping the Ideological Marketplace". American Journal of Political Science, 58 (2): 367-387. (Available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajp7s.12062/abstract)

Contact Email: 
Introduction: 

A core objective in constructing the database was to make data on campaign finance and elections (1) more centralized and accessible, (2) easier to work with, and (3) more versatile in terms of the types of questions that can be addressed. To these ends, I have put a great deal of effort into compiling, processing, and augmenting the database. In making the database public, I hope to provide a valuable resource to fellow researchers. A list of the main value-added features of the database is below:

Data processing: Names, addresses, and occupation and employer titles have been cleaned and standardized.

Unique identifiers: Entity resolution techniques were used to assign unique identifiers for all individual and institutional donors included in the database. The contributor IDs make it possible to track giving by individuals across election cycles and levels of government.

Geocoding: Each record has been geocoded and placed into congressional districts. The geocoding scheme relies on the contributor IDs to assign a complete set of consistent geo-coordinates to donors that report their full address in some records but not in others. This is accomplished by combining information on self-reported address across records. The geocoding scheme further takes into account donors with multiple addresses. Geocoding was performed using the Data Science Toolkit maintained by Pete Warden and hosted at http://www.datasciencetoolkit.org/. Shape files for congressional districts are from Census.gov (http://www.census.gov/rdo/data).

Ideological measures: 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.

Corresponding data on candidates, committees, and elections: The recipient database includes information on voting records, fundraising statistics, election outcomes, gender, and other candidate characteristics. All candidates are assigned unique identifiers that make it possible to track candidates if they campaign for different offices. The recipient IDs can also be used to match against the database of contribution records. The database also includes entries for PACs, super PACs, party committees, leadership PACs, 527s, state ballot campaigns, and other committees that engage in fundraising activities.

Identifying sets of important political actors: Contribution records have been matched onto other publicly available databases of important political actors, including Fortune 500 directors and CEOs, members of the Forbes 400, state supreme court justices, health care professionals, and executives appointees to federal agencies. (Please contact bonica@stanford.edu to request access to these databases).

Acknowledgements: 

I thank the Sunlight Foundation, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and the Center for Responsive Politics for making their data publicly accessible. I also thank Keith Poole, Howard Rosenthal, Charles Stewart, Jonathan Woon, and Georgia Kernell for providing data.

Methodology/Sampling
Universe: 
The contribution database contains records for political donations made by individuals and organizations to local, state, and federal elections. The candidate database includes entries for candidates, PACs, super PACs, leadership PACs, 527s, party committees, campaigns for state ballot measures, and other recipient committees that engage in fundraising activities.
Unit of Analysis: 
Individual donors, Political action committees (PACs), Candidates, Party committees, Ballot campaigns, other political committees
Type of data collection: 
Campaign finance records, Candidate and district characteristics, Election outcomes
Time span: 
1979-2012
Time of data collection: 
2010-2013
Geographic coverage: 
United States
Smallest geographic unit: 
Geocoded addresses
Documentation
Data Download Link(s)
Click on a data file link to begin download of the compressed (zip) file of the original formatted data file (e.g., Stata:dta, SPSS portable:por, SAS export:xpt).
Data file link(s) will appear after you login: 

First-time users should create an account. Login with your SSDS Data Archive Username and password to view the data file download link(s).

Data Notes: 

Data Sources:

Federal Elections: Contribution records, candidate and committee filings, and election outcomes for federal elections are provided by the Federal Election Commission.

State Elections: Contribution records, candidate and committee filings, and election outcomes for state elections are provided by the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Sunlight Foundation. This data is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. (See the link for details: http://followthemoney.org/Institute/about_data.phtml.) When using data on state elections, please attribute credit to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

527s: Donation records to 527s are from the Center for Responsive Politics (2002-2010) and the IRS (2011-2012). The Center for Responsive Politics licenses its data under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Please attribute credit accordingly.

New York City Elections: Contribution records for New York City elections were downloaded from the New York City Campaign Finance Board's website (http://www.nyccfb.info/).

Other Data:
Data on industry and sector codings are from the Center for Responsive Politics (http://www.opensecrets.org). The Center for Responsive Politics licenses its data under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Please attribute credit accordingly.

DW-NOMINATE scores are provided by Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal and are available for download at http://www.voteview.com.
Cite: Poole, Keith T., and Howard Rosenthal. 2007. Ideology & Congress. 2nd rev. ed. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Committee membership data are provided by Charles Stewart and Jonathan Woon and are available for download at http://web.mit.edu/17.251/www/data_page.html.
Cite: Charles Stewart III and Jonathan Woon. Congressional Committee Assignments, 103rd to 112th Congresses, 1993--2011.

Data on district partisanship were made available by Georgia Kernell:
Cite: Kernell, Georgia. 2009. “Giving Order to Districts: Estimating Voter Distributions with National Election Returns.” Political Analysis 17(3): 215–35.

News Coverage: 

New York Times:
Looking for Allies in Washington
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/14/us/politics/looking-for-al...

Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/nate-silver-handicaps-2012-el...

Ruling Sets Off a Bipartisan Rush for Campaign Cash
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/us/politics/ruling-sets-off-a-bipartis...

Five Thirty Eight:
Choose Obama's Re-election Adventure
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/choose-obamas-re-ele...

In Iowa, Conservative Republicans Have Overachieved Polls
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/22/in-iowa-conservative...

Marco Rubio The Electable Conservative
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/marco-rubio-the-elec...

Los Angeles Times:
Study Finds Wealthy Donors Lean Toward Centrist Candidates
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/30/news/la-pn-study-finds-wealthy-d...

The New Yorker:
Five Charts that Explain the Year in Politics
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/12/the-five-charts-t...

Washington Post (Wonkblog):
The Politics of the Super-rich in One Chart
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/the-politics-of-the-...

Boston Review:
Small Donors and Polarization
http://www.bostonreview.net/bonica-small-donors-polarization