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The Representational Experience: The Effect of State Population on Senator-Constituency Linkages

Bruce I. Oppenheimer
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Nov., 1996), pp. 1280-1299
DOI: 10.2307/2111751
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111751
Page Count: 20
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The Representational Experience: The Effect of State Population on Senator-Constituency Linkages
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Abstract

Representation theory recognizes the importance of context in constraining the nature of relationships between representatives and constituents. The representational experience of United States senators and their constituents is a function of the population size of their states. Analysis of Senate Election Study items on contacts between senators and constituents, reasons for contacting, and respondents' evaluations is undertaken using state population as the independent variable. State population size is found to be a far more important variable in the representational relationship of senators and constituents than is the institutional setting (Senate v. House) or the point in the election cycle. Senators and constituents in small population states not only have closer relationships than those in populous states, but they are also closer than those of House members and constituents.

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