Study Description

Voting Behavior in the Wisconsin State Legislature: 1965-1966 and 2003-2018

Unique Identification Number:
This study includes the final floor votes on bills contested by at least five percent of voting legislators, and biographical and other background information for each legislator. It encompasses the Senates and Assemblies of Wisconsin Legislatures for 1965-1966 and 2003-2004 through 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2011-2012 and 2015-2016. For 2013-2014 and 2017-2018 legislatures, all finall floor votes on bills are included.

The purpose of this study is to provide data that policy researchers, high school and college students, and other interested parties can use to better understand the workings of Wisconsin’s current political system and to find way of improving it. For example, users can discover how closely voting behavior matches ratings of individual legislators by lobby groups.
The original source of the floor-vote data is the Legislative Reference Bureau of the State of Wisconsin. Legislator background data were coded in close approximation to the “Biographical Directory of the American Congress” (BDAC), 4th and 5th editions. Congressional Directories were used to code information about elected members of the named legislatures. Campaign finance data originates from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Background variables include year of Senate or Assembly, member name, party, leadership position, committee membership, gender, age at beginning of session, born in Wisconsin or other state, born in or near the members district, member’s district, geographic region in which district is located, city of residence, year in which member was first elected to the legislature, religion, military service, margin of victory in last election, current and prior occupations, educational attainment (degrees received), ratings by active lobby groups, campaign funds received from within district, campaign funds received from outside of district, total funds received, and constituent group affiliations.
Data Format:
Data from each legislative session is stored in Microsoft Excel 2010 format (.xlsx). There are 2 Excel files for each session, one for the Wisconsin Assembly and one for the Wisconsin Senate. Download data and documentation (free registration required).
One codebook (.pdf) per legislative session; view codebooks online.
Bibliographic Citation:
Voting behavior in the Wisconsin State Legislature: 1965-1966 and 2003-2018. [machine-readable data file] / Stampen, Jacob O. [principal investigator] / Data and Information Services Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison [distributor]. <>; ().
Date of Study:
1965-1966 and 2003-2018
Geographic Coverage:
Wisconsin, state politics, state legislatures, state legislators, voting behavior, voting patterns.