Voting Scores for Members of the United States Congress, 1945-1982 (ICPSR 7645)

Published: Jan 18, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Congressional Quarterly, Inc.


Version V1

This data collection contains voting scores taken from the CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY ALMANAC, a publication of Congressional Quarterly, Inc. (CQ) for the years 1945 to 1982 (79th-97th Congresses). Part 1 contains voting scores for members of the United States Senate, and Part 2 contains such scores for the members of the United States House of Representatives. In both parts, the unit of analysis is the individual member of Congress. The identification variables in each file include member name, member's state, and member's party. In most instances a set of scores is presented for each member of Congress, for each session of the Congress, and for the Congress as a whole (both sessions). For the 96th and 97th Congresses (1979-1980, 1981-1982) scores for both sessions combined are not provided. The major types of CQ voting scores in the data collection are: (1) "voting participation score," indicating member's attendance (not to be confused with the CQ "on the record" score which shows how often the member has taken a stand on all issues), (2) "partisan voting score," calculated on a subset of the total roll calls that CQ designated as "party unity" roll calls, e.g., roll calls in which a majority of voting Democrats opposed a majority of voting Republicans (with exceptions in the 83rd and 88th Congresses when a "party voting" score was released), (3) "bipartisan voting score," consistently figured by CQ on a subset of the total bipartisan roll calls, i.e., those in which a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans voted the same way (until 1978 when the score was no longer reported), (4)"conservative coalition score," based on a subset of roll calls in which a majority of voting Southern Democrats and a majority of voting Republicans opposed the position of a majority of voting Northern Democrats, (5) "presidential issues score," which rates members on those roll calls dealing with issues on which the president has clearly and previously stated a personal position (from 1955 to 1970, this score was further subdivided into support scores for foreign and for domestic policies of the president), (6) "federal role score," which gauges the Congressperson's support and opposition of moves for a larger or smaller federal role (in earlier Congresses, CQ used a similar process to figure "economy support," opposition scores that were designed to represent a member's position on moves to limit or increase federal spending), and (7) a set of interest group scores taken from the CQ WEEKLY REPORTS and added to the two data files (for the years 1960 to 1982) that score each Congressperson's support of interest groups, i.e., Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), the Americans for Constitutional Action (ACA), the Committee on Political Education (COPE), and the National Farmers Union (NFU). Interest group ratings are included only for each session, not for the entire Congresses. (Beginning with the 1978 session, NFU rating scores were no longer included.)

Congressional Quarterly, Inc. Voting Scores for Members of the United States Congress, 1945-1982. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-18.

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1945 -- 1982

1945 -- 1982

(1) The data were prepared, keypunched, and processed from published CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY ALMANACs by the ICPSR staff. (2) The major types of voting scores were not tabulated by CQ for every session and every Congress. Especially in the first years of its release, Congressional Quarterly had not yet standardized its voting studies feature. It is possible to find a variety of scores that occur only once. (In the Senate file for the First Session of the 82nd Congress there is a unique variable for bipartisan voting on military issues and veterans' affairs.) There are also instances in which CQ offered only the raw totals normally used to compute its standard voting scores. Users will note that for the 79th Congress, Second Session, there are three variables related to voting participation: number of times voted "yea" or "nay" on all roll calls, number of times answered "present," and number of times absent for all roll calls. No standard voting participation score was calculated by CQ for that session. Scholars are also advised to check the original CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY ALMANAC and CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY WEEKLY REPORT for discussions of the methods used to derive particular voting scores. It should be noted, for instance, that absences did not usually affect a member's scores in the first years of the CQ voting studies. Beginning in 1955, failures to vote were calculated as negative responses, thus lowering all types of scores except for the federal role support scores and some of the interest group scores. Such changes in the derivation of the voting scores may influence the user's analysis of the data. (3) The data map is provided as an ASCII text file, and the codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

United States Congresspersons who were in office between 1945 and 1982.

(1) Congressional Quarterly, Inc. CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY ALMANAC, Volumes II-XXXVIII. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1946-1982, and (2) Congressional Quarterly, Inc. CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY WEEKLY REPORTS. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1960-1983.

roll call voting data



2006-01-18 File CB7645.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

1984-05-03 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:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • 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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