American Political Event Data, 1968-1972 (ICPSR 7576)

Version Date: Feb 16, 1992 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Mark Wynn

Version V1

Using a political event coding system, this data collection describes 8,768 events and press items sampled from 42,000 entries in THE NEW YORK TIMES between 1968 and 1972. These data were generated in order to apply events data to the study of the emergence and processing of political issues in the United States and to test a number of hypotheses regarding the types of events associated with various political issues. Approximately 4,600 cases are events in which an actor attempts to influence a target. The remaining cases are reports of press items such as editorials and columns. The data include: (1) whether it was a political event (i.e., one in which an actor directs some action toward a target in a political system in order to influence the behavior of the target) or a press item (i.e., information about the domestic issue from either a newspaper column or a newspaper editorial), (2) the domestic issue (one of 40 possible categories), (3) the domestic subissue, (4) the date and the page of the newspaper in which the article describing the event was found, (5) the press treatment or coverage of the event, (6) the actor initiating the event (coded in one of 100 categories including both governmental and nongovernmental actors), (7) the federal role favored by the actor regarding the issue, (8) whether the actor specialized in dealing with the issue, (9) type of action initiated by the actor, (10) the mode of action, (11) the target of the event, and (12) the weight of the event or press item.

Wynn, Mark. American Political Event Data, 1968-1972. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1992-02-16.

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1968 -- 1972

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Both random and systematic probability sampling was used. The events sampled concerned 40 domestic United States political issues. Twenty of those 40 were designated as major political issues and 20 were deemed minor political issues. To choose major political issues, the investigator examined the responses to a question in the November 1970 Harris Poll, which asked, "What are the top two or three problems facing people such as yourself you would like to see the new Congress do something about?" The 20 issues that elicited the most responses were regarded as the major domestic political issues. THE NEW YORK TIMES was the basic source for the major political issues due to its reputation for accuracy and its function as an information source to elites. Using the NEW YORK TIMES INDEX, approximately 50 entries for each issue area were coded per year. To simplify the sampling process, systematic rather than random sampling was used. In order to find a sample of minor issues, the "Table of Contents" of the 1970 CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY ALMANAC, which was a relatively complete list of the issues considered in the political system that year, was used. A random sample of domestic issues was chosen from that list. Those which duplicated the major issues were deleted. The resulting data were weighted to approximate the total number of events pertaining to that issue in the INDEX. The weights (N18) equalize the data, making estimation of the characteristics of the whole population of reported events and press items possible.

United States domestic events of national importance in 1968-1972.


event/transaction data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Wynn, Mark. AMERICAN POLITICAL EVENT DATA, 1968-1972. ICPSR version. Compiled by Mark Wynn, Northwestern University. ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2002.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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