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The Roots of Legislator Popularity in Great Britain and the United States

Cain, Bruce E. and Ferejohn, John A. and Fiorina, Morris P. (1979) The Roots of Legislator Popularity in Great Britain and the United States. Social Science Working Paper, 288. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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In both the United States and Great Britain, legislators are surprisingly popular despite the inefficacy of government policies and the worsening of economic conditions. The answer to this small puzzle lies in the determinants of legislative popularity. In this paper, we show that legislative popularity in both countries is significantly related to constituency oriented activities such as handling constituents' problems, maintaining a high visibility in the constituency, defending the special interests of the district, and the like. We propose a three equation structural model which explains the formation of (1) name recognition, (2) the general expectation that the legislator is a dependable constituency man, and (3) the final assessment of the legislator's performance itself. The data we employ come from the 1978 CPS/NES Congressional Elections Study and from a 1979 British Election survey conducted by Gallup for our purposes.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1979 Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association. The research reported herein was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation and has benefited from the collegial comments and criticisms of Graham Wilson, Gillian Peele, John Jackson, Roger Noll and Forrest Nelson. The American data were originally collected by the Center for Political Studies of the University of Michigan under a grant from the National Science Foundation, and made available through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Neither the original collectors of the data nor the Consortium bear any responsibility for the analyses or interpretations in this paper.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
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Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:288
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171016-133646948
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82376
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:16 Oct 2017 21:11
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:53

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