Tag Archives: incumbency advantage

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 […]

The Declining Talent Pool of Government

The “benchwarmer” dilemma: You want your best 11 players on the field, but in order to motivate your players, you’ve got to threaten to replace them with an inferior player from the bench. Imagine you’re a soccer coach. You’ve got 14 players on your roster, 11 of whom are on the field at any given […]

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 […]

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 […]