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Constituency Opinion and Congressional Policy Making: The Reagan Defense Build Up

Larry M. Bartels
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 85, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 457-474
DOI: 10.2307/1963169
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1963169
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Constituency Opinion and Congressional Policy Making: The Reagan Defense Build Up
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Abstract

Representatives' votes on a series of defense budget roll calls in the first year of the Reagan administration's Pentagon buildup are related to constituency opinions on defense spending during the 1980 election campaign. The strong aggregate constituency demand for increased defense spending in 1980 is estimated to have added almost 17 billion (about 10%) to the total fiscal year 1982 Pentagon appropriation. The impact of constituency opinion was largely independent of specific political circumstances: differential responsiveness in districts with partisan turnover, intense district level competition, and strong presidential coattails together accounted for less than 1 billion in additional appropriations, with the remaining $16 billion attributable to across-the-board responsiveness by even the most safely incumbent representatives.

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