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The Modern United States Senate: What is Accorded Respect

John R. Hibbing and Sue Thomas
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 1990), pp. 126-145
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2131422
Page Count: 20
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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.
The Modern United States Senate: What is Accorded Respect
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Abstract

The modern U.S. Senate is often seen as being hopelessly personalistic and little concerned with such quaint standards as party discipline, loyalty to the institution, and improving public policy. In this paper, by determining the specific behaviors and traits that are associated with respect, we attempt to test the veracity of these widely-held beliefs. Our measure of respect was obtained from a survey of top-level staffers, and our efforts to explain variations in respect for senators were based on such variables as use of the frank, number of trips home, support for the president, support for the party, ideology (as displayed in roll call behavior), legislative specialization, success in moving legislation, seniority, and presidential ambitions. The results support the notion that respect, for the most part, is accorded to senators who are involved with substantive legislative activities and who are not overly preoccupied with external actors such as constituents and the president. More surprisingly, perhaps, rather than being viewed with suspicion, senators who are media-savvy and interested in seeking the presidency are accorded additional respect in the modern Senate.

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