House and Senate Elections

Jamie L. Carson and Jason M. Roberts

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559947
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

House and Senate Elections

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Research on U.S. congressional elections has made remarkable progress in the past four decades. Scholars of congressional politics for years have studied elections in Congress and the Senate, focusing attention on questions ranging from incumbency advantage in Congress to why turnout voter is lower in midterm elections. However, there are still a number of unanswered questions concerning House and Senate elections. This article evaluates the state of research on U.S. House and Senate elections. It examines the central themes that have permeated the literature on congressional elections since the early 1970s. Prior to the 1970s, congressional elections were rarely mentioned in research on Congress. However, that trend changed dramatically when Mayhew noticed the decline in incumbent marginality in his research which examined House elections from 1956 to 1972. With the exponential growth on congressional elections scholarship, this article focuses on some of the more important questions in the field. It also discusses the implications for research on House and Senate elections.

Keywords: House elections; Senate elections; congressional elections; elections; congressional elections scholarship; research; U.S. congressional elections; Congress; Senate

Article.  13774 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; Political Institutions

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