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Presidential Campaigns and Elections: Elections Present and Past

Sources for the current and past U.S. presidential campaigns and elections.

Library Links

Print copy of handouts

A pdf copy of sources for Political Science.


A pdf copy of Evaluating Information Sources.

The 2012 Election


Get the news and views

News organizations put their best efforts into covering presidential campaigns.  Some that I like best are:

Politico 2012 Live - which gives full coverage of issues, positions, and well-written and edited news.

New York Times Politics has deep coverage and is also looked at closely by the campaigners themselves. 

CNN Politics is like the New York Times in both the depth of coverage (much more video) and the recipricol influence it has on candidates.

Google Politics & Elections - US

TEMPO Media Index (Translating the Effectiveness of Media into Performance) Temple University’s Fox School of Business and LexisNexis® Legal & Professional media index tracks and scores the presidential, Senate, House and gubernatorial campaigns across social, broadcast and print media.

CQ Weekly is an important news magazine for covering events related to the federal government.  It also has a Floor Vote Search for searching how candidates voted if they were-- or are in Congress.  For instance, search on the keyword "Mccain" or the keyword "Obama."

National Journal's Policy Central  Reports on politics and policy for an academic audience. Also has features such as Ad Spotlight, Poll Track, and Blogmeter.

The Huffington Post has a decidely liberal slant, but is useful for the latest political gossip.

Fox News Elections seems to lean strongly conservative and serves as a good bellwhether of conservative thinking and gossip.

2012 Presidential Candidates - Wikipedia article with biographies, description of parties and links.

C-SPAN Politics Campaign 2008 has video of debates, campaign ads and speeches. is a good place to find the latest rumors about candidates. This site describes itself as "nonpartisan, nonprofit "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics."

A project of the St. Petersburg Times that tracks the claims and campaign promises and subsequent words and actions of politicians and pundits.

Demographic characteristics of voters in states.

The Pew Research Center has a May 2009 report on voter turn-out in the 2008 presidential election: Dissecting the 2008 Electorate

The National Journal Policy Central has a biannual publication called the Almanac of American Politics that profiles states and their demographic and political climate back to 1998 online and in Paley Library in print in the Stacks back to 1972 at call number JK1012.A44

The U.S. Census Bureau put together a 2008 profile for each of the states.

Voting America, 1840-2008 has many interesting visualizations of statistics on presidential elections

Political Maps has some interesting graphics for primary results that might go well with the Almanac profiles. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections also has primary results in maps back to 2000.

Speaking of maps, the Federal Election Commission has a nice map of the relative size of states in term of contributions to candidates.

Past Elections

The Green Papers has details on the 2008 elections as well as an archive on elections going back to the 2000 election.

CQ's Vital Statistics on American Politics has historical tables of primary and election results-- it's useful more as a guide to sources than actual numbers for this project.

2008 Third Party Candidates - Wikipedia article with bios and links

Third Party Presidential Candidates - list and biographies through 2004  Listen to an audio discussion from the British publication the Economist on Democracy in America on third party candidates and whether the two-party system is the best America can come up with.


Statistics for presidential elections by state can be found in the print reference book America Votes in both Paley Library and Ambler Library Reference Departments at call number JK1967.A8

America at the polls : a handbook of American presidential election statistics Paley Reference JK524.A73 and Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. elections JK1967.C662 1994 go back to 1956.

CQ Weekly (aka Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report) reports on elections and has been doing so since 1956 (1983 to the present is online.) The print is kept in Government Documents in the compact shelving at the end of the Government Documents. Each year has an index to articles.

Reference Librarian

Rick Lezenby

phone: 215-204-4571

Paley Library (017-00)

Room: 315 (Third Floor - West side near stairs)

1210 W. Berks Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122
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