Reading and Video List

Items in this list offer websites and documents that focus on current policy and research.  These are reliable sources to begin research on a variety of issues.

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The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform, revitalize – and when necessary, defend – our country's systems of democracy and justice. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, the Brennan Center starts with rigorous research from which it publishes data and numerous articles and crafts innovative policies. At this critical moment, the Brennan Center is dedicated to protecting the rule of law and the values of Constitutional democracy. The Brennan Center focuses on voting rights, campaign finance reform, ending mass incarceration, and preserving our liberties while also maintaining our national security. And the Brennan Center fights for them – in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

CIA Fact Book

Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book 

Congress.Gov

Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public.  

It is presented by the Library of Congress (LOC) using data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Government Publishing Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the LOC’s Congressional Research Service. Congress.gov is usually updated the morning after a session adjourns. Consult Coverage Dates for Congress.gov Collections for the specific update schedules and start date for each collection. Congress.gov supersedes the THOMAS system which was retired on July 5, 2016. THOMAS was produced after Congressional leadership directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public.

The Cook Political Report

The Cook Political Report is an independent, non-partisan newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns for the US House of Representatives, US Senate, Governors and President as well as American political trends.  The Cook Political Report employs what it calls the Cook Partisan Voting Index (the PVI), which lists each congressional district in the country according to propensity for voting Democratic or Republican. Every four years following a presidential election, the PVI is updated to reflect how Democratic or Republican a district is, based on how that district voted in the presidential election compared with the rest of the country.

Fact Check

Fact Check is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

Federal Register

FiveThirtyEight

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories about elections, politics, sports, science and culture. 538 features polling aggregation with a blog created by analyst Nate Silver. Since the 2008 election, the site has published articles—typically creating or analyzing statistical information—on a wide variety of topics in current politics and political news. These included a monthly update on the prospects for turnover in the Senate; federal economic policies; Congressional support for legislation; public support for health care reform, global warming legislation and LGBT rights; elections around the world; marijuana legalization; and numerous other topics. The site and its founder are best known for election forecasts, including the 2012 presidential election in which FiveThirtyEight correctly predicted the vote winner of all 50 states. FiveThirtyEight has won numerous awards for data journalism and political coverage.

Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Institute is a pro-choice research organization started in 1968 that works to study, educate, and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. The organization works mainly in the United States but also focuses on developing countries.

Pew Research Center

Pew is a non-partisan, non-governmental organization global for research and public policy organization, dedicated to serving the public.  Pew is interested  in research, practical knowledge and a robust democracy.  Pew's portfolio  includes public opinion researcharts and culture; and environmental, health, state and consumer policy initiatives.  Click here to browse Pew's reports and data by subject.  Each subject page collects all our reports published since 1983. Use Pew's poll questions search tool to search their database of polling questions.

Politifact.com

PolitiFact.com began in 2007 as a project of the Tampa Bay Times (then the St. Petersburg Times), with reporters and editors from the newspaper and its affiliated news media partners reporting on the accuracy of statements made by elected officials, candidates, their staffs, lobbyists, interest groups and others involved in U.S. politics.[1] Its journalists evaluate original statements and publish their findings on the PolitiFact.com website, where each statement receives a "Truth-O-Meter" rating. The ratings range from "True" for statements the journalists deem as accurate to "Pants on Fire" (from the taunt "Liar, liar, pants on fire") for claims the journalists deem as false or ludicrous.

ProCon

​Founded on July 12, 2004, ProCon.org is the country's leading source for pro, con, and related research on controversial issues. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charity, ProCon.org uses professional researchers and rigorous editorial standards to explore more than 80 controversial issues from gun control and death penalty to illegal immigration and alternative energy. Understanding issues using this structured methodology helps to improve academic performance, increase civic engagement, strengthen personal resiliency, bridge political divides, and stimulate critical thinking

Project Syndicate

Project Syndicate produces and delivers original, high-quality commentaries to a global audience in four languages. Featuring exclusive contributions by prominent political leaders, policymakers, scholars, business leaders, and civic activists from around the world, we provide news media and their readers cutting-edge analysis and insight. 

Voice of America

​Voice of America (VOA) is the largest U.S. international broadcaster, providing news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of more than 275 million people. VOA produces content for digital, television, and radio platforms. It is easily accessed via your mobile phone and on social media. It is also distributed by satellite, cable, FM and MW, and is carried on a network of approximately 2,200 affiliate stations.  Since its creation in 1942, Voice of America has been committed to providing comprehensive coverage of the news and telling audiences the truth. Through World War II, the Cold War, the fight against global terrorism, and the struggle for freedom around the globe today, VOA exemplifies the principles of a free press. VOA is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the government agency that oversees all non-military, U.S. international broadcasting. It is funded by the U.S. Congress.