The Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) dataset is the only dataset providing information about the positions of parties for comparative researchers across time and countries. This article evaluates its structure and finds a peculiarity: A high number of zeros and their unequal distribution across items, countries and time. They influence the results of any procedure to build a scale, but especially those using factor analyses. The article shows that zeroes have different meanings: Firstly, there are substantial zeroes in line with saliency theory. Secondly, zeroes exist for non-substantial reasons: The length of a manifesto and the percentage of uncoded sentences, both strongly varying across time and country. We quantify the problem and propose a procedure to identify data points containing non-substantial zeroes. For the future comparative use of the dataset we plead for a theoretical selection of items combined with the information about the likelihood that zeroes are substantially meaningful.