Voteview allows users to view every congressional roll call vote in American
history on a map of the United States and on a liberal-conservative
ideological map including information about the ideological positions of
voting Senators and Representatives. The original Voteview of DOS was
developed by Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal at Carnegie-Mellon
University between 1989 and 1992. Poole and Rosenthal developed Voteview for Windows in 1993 at Princeton University and that work was continued by Boris Shor. The legacy version of the website is available at legacy.voteview.com.
The new voteview.com combines the visualizations provided by the now obsolete Voteview desktop system, data and NOMINATE estimates provided by the old voteview.com web site, and up-to-date voting data from the current Congress with new search, download and visualization functionality.
Ideological positions are calculated using the DW-NOMINATE (Dynamic Weighted NOMINAl Three-step Estimation). This procedure was developed by Poole and Rosenthal in the 1980s and is a "scaling procedure", representing legislators on a spatial map. In this sense, a spatial map is much like a road map--the closeness of two legislators on the map shows how similar their voting records are. Using this measure of distance, DW-NOMINATE is able to recover the "dimensions" that inform congressional voting behavior.
The primary dimension through most of American history has been "liberal" vs. "conservative" (also referred to as "left" vs. "right"). A second dimension picks up differences within the major political parties over slavery, currency, nativism, civil rights, and lifestyle issues during periods of American history.
The technical details of the DW-NOMINATE model can be found in Poole's Spatial Models of Parliamentary Voting. Poole and Rosenthal's Ideology and Congress explores the nature of voting in Congress and the political history of the United States through the lens of the ideological dimensions recovered by DW-NOMINATE and is a useful companion to this site.
UCLA's Department of Political Science and Social Science Computing host and maintain NOMINATE score data and voteview. We welcome feedback, questions, and media enquiries concerning this project.
Jeffrey B. Lewis
Professor, University of California Los Angeles
Keith T. Poole
Philip H. Alston, Jr. Distinguished Professor, University of Georgia
Professor Emeritus, University of California San Diego
Professor of Politics, New York University
Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences, Emeritus, Princeton University.
VoteView code available on GitHub:
Some graphics used under license:
External code libraries: