With a historic recall election approaching in the state of Wisconsin, the DISC archive is pleased to announce new voting-behavior data for the state legislative session that ended in March 2012. Principal investigator Jacob Stampen, emeritus professor at UW-Madison’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, has compiled voting records, biographical information, and lobby ratings for Wisconsin state legislators during the 2011-2012 legislative session. The dataset Voting Behavior in the Wisconsin State Legislature now covers 2003 to 2012.
Regarding the recent legislative session, Dr. Stampen commented, “The 2011-2012 session of the Wisconsin State Legislature remained sharply divided much like its immediate predecessors, but it was also unique. An unprecedented number of system-changing laws were passed with active involvement from special interests.”
“The saying that ‘all politics are local,’” added Stampen, “didn’t seem to be true.”
Stampen’s analysis of past legislative sessions in Wisconsin revealed that voting behavior had changed considerably since the 1960s. Since that time, legislators have begun to vote more frequently in line with their respective parties, and also in close alignment with the positions of major lobbying organizations.
Voting Behavior in the Wisconsin State Legislature: 2003 – 21012 data is publicly available for download (free registration required). The data includes final floor votes in both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature, on all votes contested by at least 5% of voting legislators. Biographical data for each legislator includes variables such as age, educational attainment, occupation, military service, margin of victory in the last election, and leadership and committee assignments. Project Vote Smart provided ratings from lobbying organizations, and campaign finance data came from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.