The following guide provides a brief description of each section and a list of sources from which information was derived, both of which serve as a road map to understanding the meaning behind the figures. Some of the data will be updated regularly on the Almanac Web site. For information on how to subscribe to this free service, please see the insert card toward the middle of the book.
Population. All population figures, excluding voter registration, are from the Census Bureau, www.census.gov. Official April 1, 2000 Census figures are used for each state.
Area Size. Area size is in square miles, including water.
State Native. Refers to persons born in their state of residence as a % of all persons.
Non-Citizen. Refers to persons foreign born and not a citizen as a % of all persons.
Language. Refers to the % of households speaking that language. The abbreviation Other Eur. refers to Other Indo-European languages.
Race and Ethnic Origin. For the 2000 Census, the Census Bureau asked people what their race or ethnic origin was. Race, as defined by the Census, reflects the individual respondent's perception of his or her racial identity and does not reflect any biological or anthropological definition. The basic racial categories are: American Indian or Alaska Native (designated in the box as Native Am.); Asian; Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (Hawaiian); Black or African American; White; Two or more races (Two + races); Other non-Hispanic persons (Other). The race statistics used in the Almanac are drawn from respondents reporting only one race category, but the book also includes a total for those who responded to more than one race category. Hispanic origin is defined as an ethnicity, and includes those who classified themselves in one of three specific Hispanic categories (Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican) or as of "other Spanish/Hispanic origin." Persons of Latino or Hispanic origin may be of any race for Census purposes, but the Almanac includes only non-Hispanic Blacks in the Black population category and only non-Hispanic Whites in the White population category, so that the percentages add to 100%. The figures in the box are as a % of all persons in a state or congressional district.
Ancestry. Ancestry refers to ethnic origin or descent; categories are drawn from Census-designated possible groups. The question was intended by the Census to provide data for groups that were not included in the Hispanic origin and race questions; thus it does not reflect diversity within Hispanic and Asian subgroups. The % figure is calculated by using the average number of responses to estimate the % of the population that shares this ancestry characteristic. NOTE: The USA designation refers to "American" as a unique ethnicity, if it was provided alone as a response without any other ethnicity. Subsaharan refers to the Census category of Subsaharan African. West Indian excludes Hispanic groups.
Military Veterans. Refers to persons who were in the Armed Forces previously as a % of voting age persons. Gulf War % includes all veterans with service after 1990, but does not include those who also served in Vietnam.
Urban/Rural Population. Refers to the % of total population that lives in areas defined as urban or rural by the Census Bureau.
Education. H.S. Grad refers to persons with a high school diploma or higher, as a % of persons 25 years and older. College Grad refers to persons with a bachelor's degree or higher, as a % of persons 25 years and older.
Industry. Refers to industry of occupation. The figure is of persons employed by that particular industry as a % of employed persons 16 years or older. Abbreviations: Agri (agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining); Con (construction); Fin (finance, insurance and real estate); Info (information); Mfg (manufacturing, durable and non-durable); Prof (professional and related services, including health and education); Public (public administration); Trade (trade, wholesale and retail); Other (primarily entertainment, recreation, hotel and food services).
Occupation. Refers to type of job within industry. The figure is the % of employed persons 16 years and older in these occupations. White collar refers to management, professional, sales and administrative occupations. Blue collar refers to construction, production and transportation occupations. Gray collar refers to the balance of employed persons not classified as white or blue collar, such as farming, fishing and forestry or health care, protective service, food prep and personal care occupations.
Work Sector. Refers to a classification of worker by economic sector. The figure is the % of employed persons 16 years and older. Abbreviations: Private (private for profit/not for profit wage/salary employers); Govt (federal, state and local government); Self (self-employed); Family (unpaid family workers).
Unemployment. Unemployed civilians as a % of persons 16 years and older and as a % of the labor force.
Household Income/Poverty Status. Household Income refers to household income in 1999, as a % of all households. Poverty status refers to % of persons below the poverty line.
Home Value. Refers to self-estimated market value of owner-occupied units as % of owner-occupied housing units for which value was specified.
State Information. Each legislature is referred to according to the proper name of its legislative body, followed by a breakdown by party membership.
Legislative Term Limits. Refers to whether a state has term limits for state legislators.
Registered Voters. Refers to the number of registered voters by party, as close as possible to the November 2002 election. The individual states' election bureaus or political parties provide these figures. Some states have no voter registration. D refers to Democrat; R refers to Republican; I refers to independent, unaffiliated and minor parties.
Cook Partisan Voting Index. Refers to the Partisan Voting Index (PVI) as used by Charlie Cook, Washington's foremost political handicapper. The PVI is designed to provide a quick overall assessment of generic partisan strength. For this volume, the PVI includes an average of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections in the district as the partisan indicator. The PVI value is calculated by a comparison of the district average for the party nominee, compared to the 2004 national value for the party nominee. The calculations are based upon the two-party vote. The national values for 2004 are George W. Bush 51.2% and John Kerry 48.8%. The PVI value indicates a district with a partisan base above the national value for that party's 2004 presidential nominee. Thus a district with an R+15 is a district that voted 15 percentage points (as an average of its 2000 and 2004 presidential vote) higher for Bush than the national value of 51.2%. Similarly, a district with a D+15 is a district that voted 15 percentage points (as an average of its 2000 and 2004 presidential vote) higher for Kerry than the national value of 48.8%. An X +00 indicates an evenly balanced district.
Biography. This section lists when each governor, senator and representative was elected or appointed, date and place of birth, home, college education and degrees obtained (if any), religion, marital status and, if applicable, spouse's name. The number of terms listed reflects full, elected terms. Also listed is a brief outline of the politician's past elected offices, professional career and military service and his or her office addresses and telephone numbers. Committee and subcommittee assignments, as of June 3, 2005, are provided as well. (Note: On many committees, the chairman and ranking minority member are ex officio members of each subcommittee on which they do not hold a regular assignment.)
Group Ratings. The congressional rating statistics of 10 interest groups provide an idea of a legislator's general ideology and the degree to which the legislator represents different groups' interests. Not just a record of liberal/conservative voting behavior, these ratings come from a range of groups concerned with everything from single issues (environmental concerns) to the political interests of a particular sector (e.g., business). The order of the groups is such that the more "liberal" groups are on the left and the more "conservative" are on the right. Four groups, ACLU, ITIC, NTLC, and CHC provide one rating for the two-year congressional session. Following is a general description of each organization.
ADA - Americans for Democratic Action
Liberal: Since its founding in 1947, ADA members have pushed for legislation designed to curtail rising defense spending, prevent encroachments on civil liberties and promote international human rights. The ADA uses 20 votes from the 108th Congress based on a broad spectrum of issues for its vote analysis.
ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union
Pro-individual liberties: ACLU seeks to protect individuals from legal, executive and congressional infringement on basic rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU ratings are published for every Congress; the 2004 ratings include the years 2003 and 2004.
AFS - American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Liberal labor: As the nation's largest public service employees union, representing more than 1.4 million members, AFSCME is committed to improving working conditions through collective bargaining. The AFSCME voting records are based on a representative sample of roll call votes from the 108th Congress.
LCV - League of Conservation Voters
Environmental: Formed in 1970, LCV is the national, non-partisan arm of the environmental movement. LCV works to elect pro-environmental candidates to Congress. LCV ratings are based on key votes concerning energy, environment and natural resource issues.
ITIC - Information Technology Industry Council
High-tech industry: ITIC represents the leading U.S. providers of information technology products and services. ITIC's mission is to help shape policies that advance electronic commerce, open new markets, rely on market-based solutions, and foster innovation. The 2004 ratings include the years 2003 and 2004.
NTU - National Taxpayers Union
Pro-taxpayer rights: NTU is the nation's largest and oldest taxpayers' rights group, representing 350,000 members in all 50 states. NTU analyzes every roll call vote taken during both sessions of Congress that significantly affects federal taxes, spending, debt, or regulatory impact.
COC - Chamber of Commerce of the United States
Pro-business: Founded in 1912 as a voice for organized business, COC represents local, regional and state chambers of commerce in addition to trade and professional organizations.
ACU - American Conservative Union
Conservative: Since 1971, ACU ratings have provided a means of gauging the conservatism of members of Congress. Foreign policy, social and budget issues are their primary concerns.
NTLC - National Tax-Limitation Committee
Pro-tax limitation: NTLC was organized in 1975 to seek constitutional and other limits on taxes, spending and deficits. These ratings are based on budget issue votes and bills that would have a major impact on long-term government taxing and spending programs.
CHC - Christian Coalition
Conservative: Pro-family citizen organization and national lobby founded in 1989 working for family-friendly public policy on a local, state and national level with over 2 million members.
National Journal Ratings
National Journal's rating system establishes an objective method of analyzing congressional voting. A panel of National Journal editors and staff initially compiled a list of congressional roll call votes and classified them as either economic, social or foreign policy-related. The interrelationship of these votes was shown by a statistical procedure called "principal components analysis," which revealed which "yea" votes and which "nay" votes fit a liberal or a conservative pattern. The votes in each of the three subject areas were computer-weighted to reflect the degree they fit the common pattern. All members of Congress who participated in at least half of the votes in each area received ratings; those who missed more that half the votes were not scored (shown as *). Absences and abstentions were not counted.
Members of Congress were then ranked according to relative liberalism and conservatism. Finally, they were assigned percentiles showing their rank relative to others in their chamber. Percentile scores range from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 99. Because some members voted liberal or conservative on every roll call, however, there are ties at the liberal and conservative ends of each scale. For that reason, the maximum percentiles often turn out to be less than 99.
Listed for each member of the House are results of the 2004 general, runoff and primary elections, as well as the 2002 general elections (results of any special elections are also listed). Gubernatorial and senatorial results are presented in a like manner. Votes and percentages are included, indicating the margin of victory (due to the process of rounding up and rounding down, some totals may equal more or less than 100%). Candidates receiving less than 4% of the total vote are grouped together and listed as "Other." Election returns were collected from the individual states. Where a state abbreviation and district number appear in parenthesis next to an election year, this indicates that the member ran in a differently numbered congressional district that year.
Prior Winning Percentage. This feature provides winning percentage of the vote in past elections; in Senate profiles, the word "House" indicates the election that year was for the U.S. House. If no percentage is provided for an election year, it indicates that the member lost or did not run for reelection that year; generally this will occur where there has been a gap in service. An odd election year (e.g. 2001) indicates a special election; two elections in the same year indicate a special and a general election.
Presidential Vote. The 2000 and 2004 presidential votes are included for each state. Results of the 2004 presidential primaries were provided by the Federal Election Commission; caucus results are not provided. The 2000 and 2004 presidential votes are included here for each congressional district. The 2000 presidential vote reflects the vote within the new district lines in effect for the 2002 election. The 2004 presidential vote reflects the vote within the district lines in effect for the 2004 election. The presidential vote by congressional district is estimated by Polidata, from information collected from state and local election offices. Only seven states provide district-level presidential vote data; by necessity, other results are aggregated from precinct-level returns. Voting data from districts with split precincts and centrally counted absentee votes thus should be considered estimates; the allocation of these unassigned votes is determined by Polidata. While estimates of votes are included in each district, the percentage values generally provide the more reliable information. The votes for minor party candidates are included where available but are not consistent across all 50 states. The total of the congressional district votes may not add up to the total state vote, because some votes (overseas, military and some absentee and early votes) are not assigned to a congressional district and because county election office reports sometimes conflict with reports from state election authorities.
All data are derived from candidates' campaign finance reports and party reports available from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The dollar figure, in parentheses to the right of the election results, represents the candidates' net disbursements (expenditures) for the period beginning January 1, 2003, and ending December 31, 2004. These figures may not include candidate loans that have been repaid, nor does it include any corrections or amendments filed with the FEC after June 2005.
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Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005
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