• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

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Misc for election backgrouding

Page history last edited by Tom Johnson 15 years, 4 months ago
  • ***** OpenSecrets.org

    OpenSecrets.org is the nation’s premier independent website tracking the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives.


  • ***** Sunlight Foundation

    "The Sunlight Foundation is committed to helping citizens, bloggers and journalists be their own best congressional watchdogs, by improving access to existing information and digitizing new information, and by creating new tools and Web sites to enable all of us to collaborate in fostering greater transparency."

    NB: Be sure to check out the Sunlight Foundation's Projects page.  Unique data there.


  • ***** MAPLight.org

    "A groundbreaking public database, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws.

         This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal. MAPLight.org makes money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable.

    The Database

    MAPLight.org combines three data sets:

    • Campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics

Combining this data makes visible key information that could never before be determined easily. For example:

     * Contributions given by interests supporting and opposing each bill

     * Average donations given to legislators voting Yes and No on each bill 

               * Timeline of contributions and votes for each bill, graphically identifying when legislators received large donations before

                    or after their vote.


  • Govtrack.us

    GovTrack.us is an independent tool to help the public research and track the activities in the U.S. Congress, promoting government transparency and civic education through novel uses of technology.

    What you can find here

    This site brings together information on:

    The status of U.S. federal legislation and legislative records back to 1993. [find a bill | example] You can search bills by name, number, and subject area, such as "nuclear energy" and "medicine". Some things you won't find anywhere else:

    Read summaries of bills, the full text, and even track changes to the text of a bill during its life-cycle [example].

    We also have visitor Q&A: Ask a question about a bill and see if other visitors will provide an answer [example].

    Voting records in the Senate and House of Representatives. [browse votes | example]

    Information on all Members of Congress. [find your reps | example]Use a map to figure out which congressional district you live in. Zoom in right to your street.

    Once you find your Members of Congress, you can see what bills they've sponsored, how they've voted, what committees they serve on, and you can view statistics about them, such as our political ideology meter that analyzes their bill sponsorship patterns.


A good site for context.  "Nonprofit, non-partisan project provides quality news feeds, news literacy tools and a trust network to help citizens make informed decisions about democracy.

      The free NewsTrust.net website features daily feeds of quality news and opinions, which are carefully rated by our members, using our unique review tools. We rate the news based on quality, not just popularity. NewsTrust reviewers evaluate each article against core principles of journalism, such as fairness, evidence, sourcing and context."


Reporters aim to check facts behind candidates’ claims, but effect on voters is unclear.


  • Google's Elections '08 Map Gallery

    "Browse through these political maps to learn about this year's race for the Presidency and show off your favorites by embedding them around the web for the world to see. Feeling ambitious? Design and create your own elections map with our getting started guide."


  • Intrade

    Prediction Markets work like a stock market, but instead of buying stocks, you buy shares in your opinion. For example, if you think Barack Obama is going to win the election, invest some money in him. The price of the contract changes with demand in the same way stock prices change for Google.


  • HuffPost's OffTheBus Superdelegate Investigation 

    The Huffington Post asked "readers to join with us and profile the hundreds of superdelegates who are likely to decide the Democratic nomination for president. Hundreds of you responded and we can now present our initial findings. Just click on a state or territory and a list of superdelegate profiles, as compiled by our citizen journalists, will pop up. We're still in the process of compiling and uploading these files so please expect more in the coming hours and days."


  • Swivel

    Swivel's mission is to make data useful so people share insights, make great decisions and improve lives.

    In an era of spin, opinion, and apathy about statistics, Swivel is a Web site that makes it easy for everyone to collaborate and explore data together — because better informed people make better decisions: in voting booths, in corporate boardrooms and at neighborhood meetings.


  • ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. We strive to foster change through exposing exploitation of the weak by the strong and the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.


  • Data-Planet

    Fast access to government and commercial statistical data and analysis is now easier than ever through Data-Planet---a revolutionary new online service.  It's not cheap, but could be effective.

    • Compare stock trends vs. the Federal Budget
    • Chart population demographics vs. economic indicators
    • View the impact of weather on U.S. airline on-times rates
    • And so much more!

    Data-Planet’s easy-to-use desktop tool lets you quickly access and instantly compare over 30 Million time series from hundreds of sources of commercial, federal. state and local government data and millions of metrics.


  • The Center for Public Integrity

    The Center for Public Integrity is dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern in the USA and around the world.

       Also, John Perry shares the Center for Public Integrity's procedures and policies for computer assisted reporting. It addresses data importation, cleaning, coding, updates and fact checking. It is an extensive explanation of CAR methods. Also included is a summary of the methods used for a story about lobbyists providing legislators with free travel. Perry-Center for Public Integrity procedures.pdf 

    • States of Disclosure

      How easy is it to find information on the private interests of public officials? The Center for Public Integrity researched state requirements on the filing of Personal Financial Disclosures by all three branches of state government — executive, legislative and judicial — to help the public hold officials accountable and determine the potential for conflicts of interest.

    • The Buying of the President 2008 


  • Taxpayers for Common Sense

    An independent and non-partisan voice for taxpayers working to increase transparency and expose and eliminate wasteful and corrupt subsidies, earmarks, and corporate welfare.

    NB: See especially the TCS's downloadable Excel file of earmarks.  Free, but requires registration.  Click here.


  • Federal Contracts Database

Track the latest federal contracts, compiled by the IRE and NICAR Database Library, using raw data from the Federal Procurement Data System. The archived collection includes 1979 to the present, and the tables are updated monthly. NB: Restricted to IRE members; let me know if you need the data.

Launched by OMB Watch in October, 2006, this site offers a searchable online database of federal expenditures from fiscal years 2000-2006. It uses data from the Federal Procurement Data System and the Federal Award and Assistance Database (FAADS), which covers spending for grants, loans, and other forms of federal aid. The site is free, and the databases will be updated every six months. 


  • Politico

    Washington-based, all politics all the time.  Reporters generally with years of experience covering state and national politics.


  • New political database: PolitiFact

    "St. Petersburg Times and CQ.com have launched a new online database called PolitiFact -- www.politifact.com. As Matt Waite of the Times explained on the  NICAR-L Listserv: It's what happens when you take the standard stock "truth squad" newspaper story and wash it through a web development framework.                PolitiFact aims to take things the presidential candidates are saying during this campaign and fact check them -- something every newspaper does or has done. "What we've done here is take that story, blow it apart into it's component parts and turned those parts into database fields."

                The site lets users sift through the facts in the databases, and it will offer the benefits of a data archive and regularly updated information about ongoing olitical races.


  • Source Watch

    SourceWatch is a collaborative project of the Center for Media and Democracy to produce a directory of the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda. A primary purpose of SourceWatch is documenting the PR and propaganda activities of public relations firms and public relations professionals engaged in managing and manipulating public perception, opinion and policy. SourceWatch also includes profiles on think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests. Over time, SourceWatch has broadened to include others involved in public debates including media outlets, journalists, government agencies, activists and nongovernmental organizations. Unlike some other wikis, SourceWatch has a policy of strict referencing, and is overseen by a paid editor. SourceWatch has 39,590 articles.

  • American National Election Studies  

    Established in 1977 by the National Science Foundation, the American National Election Studies (ANES) remains as vital a national research resource as ever. Their website provides important information about public opinion in the United States along with sophisticated election databases that will be useful to policy makers and social scientists. Along the left-hand side of their site visitors will find the "Reference Library" area, along with the "Data Center", and the equally important "Help Center". A good place to start looking around here is the "Guide to Public Opinion" area. Here visitors are afforded immediate access to tables and graphs that display the "ebb and flow of public opinion, electoral behavior, and choice in American politics over time." The tables and graphs contain data from 1948 through 2004, and they cover everything from partisanship to political involvement. Further along, the "Reference Library" area contains both pilot study and technical reports that may be of greater interest to academics. Additionally, there is a section where visitors can sign up to receive email updates


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