Tag Archives: congressional elections

The Party Faithful: Partisan Images, Candidate Religion, and the Electoral Impact of Party Identification

Voters can use candidates’ religion to infer their partisanship, but only for certain religions. American voters tend to vote for their party’s candidate. That’s not news. The question is, why? Political science has usually relied on three answers. The psychological approach says that voters support their party because of a deep, emotional, psychological attachment to […]

The Electoral Costs of Party Loyalty in Congress

Voters dislike partisans more than ideologues. Yesterday, I wrote about Ansolabehere and Jones’s article in AJPS showing that voters really do hold members of Congress accountable for their voting record in Congress. On the very next page in AJPS, we find another article on the same theme. But Carson et al. want to change the […]

Constituents’ Responses to Congressional Roll-Call Voting

Voters really do hold members of Congress accountable for their voting records. Turns out that democracy works, at least when it comes to voters holding members of Congress accountable for their voting record. For accountability to happen, we need to see three things: (1) Voters need to have specific opinions on specific issues before Congress; […]

Partisan Polarization and Congressional Accountability in House Elections

It may have been true 20, 30, or 40 years ago that members of Congress could evade accountability for Congress’s overall activities, but rising polarization has enabled voters to punish or reward Representatives for Congress’s collective performance. Shortly before the 2008 Congressional elections, only 36% believed that most members of Congress deserved reelection. These numbers […]

Campaign Communications in U.S. Congressional Elections

The authors have identified a cheap, easy way to capture a fuller sample of current campaign messages. We’ve long known that most voters pay little attention to campaign rhetoric; they pay far more attention to partisanship, incumbency, and other easily accessible considerations (although rhetoric certainly has its place). Still, candidates work hard to develop arguments […]

Challenger Entry and Voter Learning

Democracy is supposed to provide voters with an opportunity to hold elected officials accountable for their performance in office. With so many elected officials to monitor, however, voters would have a difficult time fulfilling this task without assistance. Previous research has indicated that experienced, high-quality candidates are more likely to challenge Congressional incumbents when there […]

Candidate Quality, the Personal Vote, and the Incumbency Advantage in Congress

If democracy requires rotation in power, then the American Congress may not be all that democratic. If democracy requires rotation in power, then the American Congress may not be all that democratic. In 1998, 2000, and 2002, over ninety-six percent of House incumbents who have sought reelection have won. These facts are clear. What is […]