Manifesto Project Database

Research project

Since its formation in 1979 as the Manifesto Research Group/Comparative Manifestos Project (MRG/CMP), the Manifesto Project has dealt with different aspects of political party performance as well as the structure and development of party systems. The project was funded by the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) from 1979-89, and since October 2009 it's been funded by a long-term grant from the German Science Foundation (DFG).


Manifesto Project Database

Manifesto Project Database


Manifesto Project Database






55 countries

Last reviewed


Data types and sources

Expert coding based on content analyses of parties’ election programs. The content analysis aims to discover party stances by quantifying their statements and messages to their electorate. A unified classification scheme with an accompanying set of rules has been developed to make such statements comparable.

Data download

Manifesto Project Database


The Manifesto Project aims to measure the policy preferences of each relevant party running in an election which is included in the data collection. Relevant parties are defined as those parties that win seats in their respective election.

Geographical coverage

55 countries, mostly European/OECD.

Time coverage and updates

1945-present. Updated regularly. Last update: 2011.


Data is thoroughly documented thorugh a codebook and a coding handbook (coding instructions for the CMP coders). In addition the site provides full list of parties, manifestos and an election coverage overview.

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge. Registration required.

Access procedures

MPPI, MPPII (original versions) and updates for 2009-2011 are available as separate datasets. In addition the site provides a full Manifesto Project Dataset which combines all versions and updates.

Data formats


Comparability and data quality

CMP is the main source of cross-national, time-series data on party policy positions and is widely used in political science. Its widespread use and the fact that these data arise from documents coded as point estimates by human interpretative coders, have put the project under scrutiny, especially the left-right scale, in regard to reliability and validity (McDonald and Mendes 2001, Hearl 2001) and measures of uncertainty (Benoit, Laver and Mikhaylov 2007, Benoit 2008).

Electronic resources

Manifesto Coding Instructions

Political Parties in the Manifesto Data Set

List of Manifestos

Election Coverage Overview

Manifesto Data Set Codebook


Benoit, Kenneth, Michael Laver and Slava Mikhaylov. 2012. Coder Reliability and Misclassification in the Human Coding of Party Manifestos. Political Analysis 20(1): 78-91.

Benoit, Kenneth, Michael Laver and Slava Mikhaylov. 2007. Estimating Party Policy Positions with Uncertainty Based on Manifesto Codings. Paper prepared for the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, August 30–September 2, 2007.

Budge, Ian/Klingemann, Hans-Dieter/Volkens, Andrea/Bara, Judith/Tanenbaum, Eric with Fording, Richard C./Hearl, Derek J./Kim, Hee Min/McDonald, Michael/Mendez, Silvia. 2001. Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hearl, Derek. 2001. Checking the Party Policy Estimates: Reliability. In Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945–1998, ed. Ian Budge, Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Andrea Volkens, Judith Bara & Eric Tanenbaum. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klingemann, Hans-Dieter/Volkens, Andrea/Bara, Judith/Budge, Ian/McDonald, Michael. Mapping Policy Preferences II. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, the European Union and the OECD, 1990-2003, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McDonald, Michael and Silvia Mendes. 2001. The policy space of party manifestos. In Estimating the Policy Position of Political Actors, ed. Michael Laver. London: Routledge.