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State Party Organizations, 1960-1980: [United States] (ICPSR 8281)

Principal Investigator(s): Cotter, Cornelius P.


This two-part data collection examines the complex role of party organizational strength in electoral politics. Major areas of inquiry were the conceptualization, measurement, and identification of the determinants and consequences of party organizational strength at state and county levels. Responses were gathered from mailed questionnaires and personal interviews with various state party officials. Part 1 contains data collected from former Republican and Democratic state party chairs (1960-1978) in the 27 sample states of the data collection. In addition, questionnaires were sent to current state party chairs (1978-1980) in nonsample states. Topics covered include: the factors and motives leading the respondent to seek and accept the chairmanship, budgetary data for typical election and non-election years, an assessment of the state party organization's relationship with county party organizations, and the frequency of the state party's dealings with the National Committee on party matters such as fund-raising, gaining assistance for state candidates, and federal appointments and patronage. Part 2 contains results from personal interviews with both the current state party chairs (1978-1980) and the executive director for each party in the 27 sample states. As in Part 1, respondents were questioned on a variety of issues such as their party's relationship with the National Committee, an assessment of the most important aspects of their job as chairman, and the state party's role in recruiting and screening candidates for state and national positions. Additionally, the executive director for each party was asked a series of questions concerning the operation and strength of the party. Items in the series included a description of the party headquarters, services provided by the party such as public relations or issue research, and sources of funding.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


DS1:  State Chairman Questionnaires, 1960-1980 - Download All Files (3.381 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   
DS2:  State Chairman and Executive Director Interviews, 1980 - Download All Files (1.761 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   

Study Description


Cotter, Cornelius P. State Party Organizations, 1960-1980: [United States]. ICPSR08281-v1. ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-01-23. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08281.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08281.v1

Export Citation:

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


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SOC 77-27020)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    electoral systems, party leaders, party membership, political parties, states (USA)

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1960--1980

Date of Collection:   

  • 1978--1980

Universe:    All state party chairs in the United States and executive directors in sample states.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

1)Many questions included in the personal interviews (Part 2) were similar to items on the mailed questionnaires (Part 1). When this occurred, data from Part 2 were merged into Part 1. 2) 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 Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.


Sample:    A systematic (non-random), stratified sampling procedure was employed to maximize variation in the political environments and in the levels of strength of state parties.

Data Source:

personal interviews, and self-enumerated forms


Original ICPSR Release:   1989-12-15

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