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Electoral Data for Counties in the United States: Presidential and Congressional Races, 1840-1972 (ICPSR 8611)

Principal Investigator(s): Clubb, Jerome M., University of Michigan; Flanigan, William H., University of Minnesota; Zingale, Nancy H., College of St. Thomas


This collection contains county-level returns for elections to the United States presidency and to the United States House of Representatives for the years 1840 to 1972. The variables for the presidential vote include the percentages of ballots cast for major and "significant" minor party candidates (with residual votes collapsed into an "other" category), total numbers of votes for all candidates in an election, and estimates of voter turnout in the presidential elections. There are similar variables for the congressional vote except that returns are reported for parties and not for candidates. Congressional district numbers are also reported for each county for every election.

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.


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Study Description


Clubb, Jerome M., William H. Flanigan, and Nancy H. Zingale. Electoral Data for Counties in the United States: Presidential and Congressional Races, 1840-1972. ICPSR08611-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-11-13. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08611.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08611.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 (GS-28913, GS-42717, GS-28911, GS-42730, and GS-42733)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    candidates, congressional elections, counties, election returns, elections, legislative districts, political attitudes, political behavior, political parties, presidential elections, states (USA)

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1840--1972

Universe:    Population of United States voters in presidential and congressional elections, 1840-1972.

Data Type(s):    aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

The variable V3 (COUNTY IDENTIFICATION NO) is not necessarily equivalent to the FIPS code for a given county.

Some of the data in this collection were compiled from ICPSR 0003. Since the time of this data collection's first release, ICPSR 0003 has been updated and is available as ICPSR 2896 (HISTORICAL, DEMOGRAPHIC, ECONOMIC, AND SOCIAL DATA: THE UNITED STATES, 1790-2000). Users of the current data collection should check ICPSR 2896 for specific information about updates that may affect the analysis of the data in this collection.


Data Source:

United States Historical Election Returns, 1788-1978 (ICPSR 0001)

Historical, Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-1970 (ICPSR 2896)


Original ICPSR Release:   1987-01-12

Version History:

  • 2006-11-13 The codebook has been updated to reflect revisions made to the processing notes, which now include an explanation for computing partisan and voter turnout percentages.
  • 2005-01-27 A processor's note has been added to the codebook to explain an apparent discrepancy between the 'V3 -- COUNTY IDENTIFICATION NO' variable and FIPS, which are in fact independent of one another. Also, the codebook has been converted to PDF form.

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