Research

Published Reports and Data

National Study of Elected Prosecutors

The Prosecutors and Politics Project conducted a nationwide study of prosecutor elections.  The first of its kind, the study gathered data from every jurisdiction that elects local prosecutors during the years 2012-2017.  An analysis of the data shows that voters are rarely given a choice between candidates.  The likelihood of having such a choice varies significantly across states, and it appears to depend on the population within a particular district and whether an incumbent is running in the election. 

National Study of Campaign Contributions and Elected Prosecutors

The Prosecutors and Politics Project has compiled a database that identifies who contributed to prosecutor elections and the amount of their donations. Contribution data includes data from jurisdictions that elected local prosecutors during the years 2012-2017.  Campaign contribution information is often publicly available, but the format of that information varies from state to state, the information is often scattered across multiple sources, and the information is sometimes incomplete. The project compiles this fragmented data into a single nationwide database that will allow sustained study about who contributes to prosecutor campaigns and the amount of contributions.

Access the database.  View initial analysis of the data.

Law Enforcement Donations in Prosecutor Elections

Using the national database of campaign contributions, the Prosecutors and Politics Project presents a nationwide snapshot of law enforcement donations in local prosecutor elections. Data show that law enforcement affiliated individuals and institutions are an important source of campaign contributions in certain elections.

Ongoing Research Projects

National Study of State and Local Prosecutor Associations

The Prosecutors and Politics Project is conducting a nationwide study of prosecutor associations. The study includes a content analysis of state legislative materials and media archives to develop a comprehensive picture of the criminal justice issues on which these associations took a position, whether that position was expressed through formal legislative testimony, and the ultimate outcome of proposed state legislation that touched on these issues. The study will cover the years 2015-2018, and the results of the study are expected to be published in 2021.

National Study of Elected Prosecutors, 2018-2019

The Prosecutors and Politics Project is collecting data to continue a study of elected local prosecutors. The study will include nationwide election results in prosecutor elections for 2018 and 2019. Data will be available on the UNC Dataverse, and a report will be published in 2021.  

National Study of Campaign Contributions and Elected Prosecutors, 2018-2019

In conjunction with election research, the project is collecting campaign contribution information for prosecutors in election years 2018 and 2019. Data will be available on the UNC Dataverse, and a report will be published in 2021.