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The Strategic Agenda in Legislative Politics

Calvin J. Mouw and Michael B. Mackuen
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 86, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 87-105
DOI: 10.2307/1964017
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964017
Page Count: 19
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The Strategic Agenda in Legislative Politics
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Abstract

We examine the politics of the strategic agenda. Abstracting a politics on the liberal--conservative dimension, we analyze Key Vote roll call data from the U.S. House of Representatives during the Eisenhower and Reagan administrations. The data suggest that politicians set the policy agenda in a strategic fashion. Because they consider such factors as long-term political goals, the changing institutional setting, and plebiscitary presidential politics, agenda-setters propose legislation that only imperfectly reflects their and the membership's wishes on the issue at hand. Thus, as the final stage in the political process, the strategic selection of an agenda provides a means by which factors other than policy preferences affect policy outcomes. The analyses affirm the strategic agenda as a core element in political life.

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