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Policy Voting in the U. S. Senate: Who Is Represented?

Gerald C. Wright
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Vol. 14, No. 4 (Nov., 1989), pp. 465-486
Published by: Washington University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/439954
Page Count: 22
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Policy Voting in the U. S. Senate: Who Is Represented?
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Abstract

This study develops new state-level measures of mass and party elite ideology to assess senatorial responsiveness to different constituencies. The ideological preferences of two groups—independent identifiers and senators' state party elites—prove important in accounting for senatorial Conservative Coalition scores (1981-84), while the preferences of state partisans have no direct effect on roll-call voting. The often noted ideological differences between same-state senators from different parties are explained by the differing values of their respective state party elites. Challengers, in contrast to incumbents, are unresponsive to independents; their campaign issue stances are consistent with the more extreme values of their state party elites. As a result Senate elections tend to be contests between relatively moderate incumbents and ideologically extreme challengers.

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