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Journal Article

Institutional Change and the Electoral Connection in the Senate: Revisiting the Effects of Direct Election

Scott R. Meinke
Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 61, No. 3 (Sep., 2008), pp. 445-457
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the University of Utah
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20299747
Page Count: 13
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Institutional Change and the Electoral Connection in the Senate: Revisiting the Effects of Direct Election
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Abstract

The author argues that direct election intensified existing electoral incentives in the early-twentieth-century Senate, shifting the audience for senators' reelection efforts with measurable behavioral consequences. The author examines patterns of bill sponsorship, roll-call participation, and party voting in the decades surrounding the Seventeenth Amendment's ratification, a time when originally elected and originally selected senators served side by side. The author finds evidence of increased sponsorship and participation among originally elected senators. Comparing behavioral patterns before and after the constitutional amendment also reveals other important behavioral shifts toward a mass audience in the post-amendment period, including a tendency to increase constituency bill sponsorship immediately before reelection and a strengthening of the link between state partisanship and senators' party support voting.

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