Research and Data on Ideology and Representation in the United States
We started this page as a way to share research related to our recent Journal of Politics article, "Measuring Constituent Policy Preferences in Congress, State Legislatures, and Cities." As part of that project we estimated a measure of the political liberalism/conservatism of states, congressional districts, cities, state senate and assembly districts, and partisans within these areas. We recently added counties as well.
Our estimates are based on responses to survey questions by 275,000 Americans who participated in the Annenberg National Election Study and the Cooperative Congressional Election Study from 2000 to 2011. The latest estimates from this project use data and districts from both before and after the 2010 redistricting. Note that districts are generally implemented two years after the census, so they actually change in years that end in 2, with legislators who represent those districts generally taking their seats in year 3.
Estimates are produced using Item Response Theory, a measurement model used in many disciplines to summarize dichotomous and categorical data. Details and references can be found in our 2013 paper.
We will update this page as new papers and datasets become available.
Tausanovitch, Chris, and Christopher Warshaw, 2013. "Measuring Constituent Policy Preferences in Congress, State Legislatures, and Cities." The Journal of Politics 75 (2): 330-342. © Cambridge University Press, accessible at Cambridge Journals Online here.
Tausanovitch, Chris, and Christopher Warshaw, 2014. Representation in Municipal Government." The American Political Science Review 108 (3): 605-641. © Cambridge University Press, accessible at Cambridge Journals Online here.
Chris Tausanovitch is an Assistant Professor at the University of California - Los Angeles. His research interests are in ideology, political representation, the United States Congress and political science methodology. Website
Christopher Warshaw is an Assistant Professor at the Massachussettes Institute of Technology. His current research focuses on political representation in Congress, state legislatures, and municipal governments. Website