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The American Voter in Congressional Elections

Barbara Hinckley
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 74, No. 3 (Sep., 1980), pp. 641-650
DOI: 10.2307/1958147
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1958147
Page Count: 10
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The American Voter in Congressional Elections
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Abstract

The article analyzes congressional elections research following from the 1978 National Election Study. In a field where basic information was lacking, the study constitutes a major data collection effort. Results should be taken as tentative, with serious work on measurement and conceptualization remaining. Nevertheless, a number of important preliminary findings can be identified. Voters' evaluations of the congressional candidates, House and Senate, have a major influence on the vote, separate from incumbency and party and more important than presidential evaluations or other evaluations. While House incumbents receive the strongest positive support on a number of measures, there is little negative perception of any candidate in congressional contests. Finally, there are major differences found for Senate and House challengers, in voter recognition and information, but no major differences for Senate and House incumbents. House challengers stand apart from all other candidates in their degree of visibility and contact with voters. The article discusses the implications of these findings and indicates priorities for future research.

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