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Out of Step, Out of Office: Electoral Accountability and House Members’ Voting

Canes-Wrone, Brandice and Brady, David W. and Cogan, John F. (2002) Out of Step, Out of Office: Electoral Accountability and House Members’ Voting. American Political Science Review, 96 (1). pp. 127-140. ISSN 0003-0554. doi:10.1017/S0003055402004276.

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Does a typical House member need to worry about the electoral ramifications of his roll-call decisions? We investigate the relationship between incumbents’ electoral performance and roll-call support for their party—controlling for district ideology, challenger quality, and campaign spending, among other factors—through a series of tests of the 1956–1996 elections. The tests produce three key findings indicating that members are indeed accountable for their legislative voting. First, in each election, an incumbent receives a lower vote share the more he supports his party. Second, this effect is comparable in size to that of other widely recognized electoral determinants. Third, a member’s probability of retaining office decreases as he offers increased support for his party, and this relationship holds for not only marginal, but also safe members.

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Additional Information:© 2002 by the American Political Science Association. Published online: 03 March 2004. We thank Steve Ansolabehere, Michael Bailey, Gregory Bovitz, Chappell Lawson, John Lott, Jas Sekhon, and Jim Snyder for helpful comments and Steve Ansolabehere, Gary Jacobson, and Jim Snyder for making available the data on challenger quality and candidates’ spending. Any errors, however, are clearly our own.
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111102-102146032
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Official Citation:Out of Step, Out of Office: Electoral Accountability and House Members' Voting BRANDICE CANES-WRONE, DAVID W. BRADY and JOHN F. COGAN American Political Science Review / Volume 96 / Issue 01, pp 127 - 140 2002 by the American Political Science Association Published online: 03 March 2004 DOI:10.1017/S0003055402004276
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27582
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:02 Nov 2011 17:46
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:49

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