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General Election Data for the United States, 1950-1990 (ICPSR 13)

Principal Investigator(s):


This data collection consists of national files containing county-level returns for elections to the offices of president, United States senator and representative, and governor. Also included are returns for one additional statewide office (usually attorney general or secretary of state) for those states that elected state offices in 1970 through 1990.

Series: United States Historical Election Returns Series

Access Notes

  • These data are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Because you are not logged in, we cannot verify that you will be able to download these data.


WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS1:  National, 1974 - Download All Files (10.8 MB)
DS2:  National, 1976 - Download All Files (12.4 MB)
DS3:  National, 1950-1972 - Download All Files (31.7 MB)
DS4:  National, 1974 and 1976 - Download All Files (22.3 MB)
DS5:  National, 1978 - Download All Files (10.5 MB)
DS6:  National, 1980 - Download All Files (9.4 MB)
DS7:  National, 1981 - Download All Files (1 MB)
DS8:  National, 1982 - Download All Files (10.3 MB)
DS9:  National, 1983 - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS10:  National, 1984 - Download All Files (10.6 MB)
DS11:  National, 1985 - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS12:  National, 1986 - Download All Files (9.1 MB)
DS13:  National, 1987 - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
DS14:  National, 1988 - Download All Files (10.9 MB)
DS15:  National, 1990 - Download All Files (9.5 MB)

Study Description


Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. General Election Data for the United States, 1950-1990. ICPSR00013-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-11-22. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR00013.v2

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   congressional elections, election returns, elections, gubernatorial elections, historical data, political attitudes, political behavior, political parties, presidential elections, voting behavior

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1950--1990

Data Types:   aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

County-level election returns for the years 1974-1990 for the offices of president, governor, United States senator and representative, plus one additional statewide office in each state, can be routinely supplied in two formats. They are available either as one physical file per state (the normal mode of storing and supplying returns for elections prior to 1974), or as a single national file for each year containing all counties in the United States and the votes cast for each party contesting elections anywhere in the nation. It is possible for ICPSR to perform, at the detailed instruction of scholars, operations such as converting vote counts to percentages and combining vote figures for various parties in the files for 1974-1990, which will facilitate national-level analysis of these returns. Potential users of the 1974-1990 files of election data are encouraged to contact the ICPSR User Support staff to formulate specific requests for electoral returns available in this format. Users should note that there are no data for the years 1973, 1975, 1977, and 1979, and that data for 1989 is forthcoming.

The codebooks for later years in this collection, such as 1988 and 1990, contain variable descriptions that are not present in the codebooks for earlier years which may be helpful when reviewing the data.


Data Source:

official election returns provided by state governments

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2013-11-22 The SPSS setup files were updated to conform to current standards. SAS and Stata setup files, as well as SPSS and Stata system files, a SAS transport (CPORT) file, an R data file, a tab-delimited data file, and a PDF codebook have been added to the collection.

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