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Guide to Using the Data Set and Code Book

This guide will give you an overview of the Exposing Extremism in Elections data set, the type of information it contains and how to read and use it.

 

Sources and Methodology

The Intelligence Project team used a standardized method to identify and compile the information in the Exposing Extremism in Elections data sets. The information comes from open source materials and tips submitted to the Intelligence Project by the general public and verified by our researchers. The candidate and election information available in the data sets was collected from publicly available election resources.

The candidates identified in these data sets as having extremist ties came to the Intelligence Project’s attention during its regular monitoring and research of extremist groups and individuals. Once a candidate was identified as having potential ties to extremism, research analysts on the Intelligence Project team conducted further investigation into the nature of the candidate’s associations. Based on the evidence collected, the Intelligence Project team determined whether the candidate’s extremist affiliations met the definition of one of five “relationship type” categories:

  • Leader
    The candidate is a known leader of an extremist group, chapter or ideological movement.
  • Member
    The candidate is a known member of an extremist group, chapter or ideological movement.
  • Former Member
    The candidate is a known former member of an extremist group, chapter or ideological movement (NOTE: This does not refer to reformed extremists).
  • Ideological
    The candidate is not known to be a member or leader of an extremist group, chapter or ideological movement but their platform, rhetoric and/or behavior demonstrates agreement or alignment with specific extremist ideologies.
  • Transactional
    The candidate is not known to be a member or leader of an extremist group, chapter or ideological movement and does not have any known extremist views or ideologies; however, the candidate has engaged with an extremist group or ideological movement, potentially to benefit from this association (e.g., to gain votes).

These categories were created by the Intelligence Project team to describe the quality of the candidate’s association with extremism. If a candidate met the threshold for one of the five relationship categories, they were included in the data set; if they did not meet the threshold for one of these categories, they were excluded from the data set.

The Intelligence Project team engaged in a peer-review process to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information presented in the Exposing Extremism in Elections data sets.

Additional Resources, Materials and Tools

In addition to the information on extremist-tied candidates, the Exposing Extremism in Elections project also offers supplementary materials and tools, including:
 

  • Short summaries of newer ideological movements, including QAnon and the Boogaloo movement
     
  • Brief descriptions of ideological sub-categories, including those within the antigovernment extremist movement
     
  • Links to additional articles and reports on candidates, extremism and the ties between them‍

Disclaimer

The SPLC Action Fund does not endorse the viewpoints or vouch for the accuracy of materials or reports that are not its own.

Sources

The SPLC Action Fund used information previously compiled by Ballotpedia and Media Matters to prepare this report.

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