Journal Article

Evaluations Of Congress And Voting In House Elections

David R. Jones

in Public Opinion Quarterly

Published on behalf of American Association for Public Opinion Research

Volume 74, issue 4, pages 696-710
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0033-362X
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-5331 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfq046
Evaluations Of Congress And Voting In House Elections

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The literature portrays the congressional voter of the 1950s through the early 1970s as having been unwilling or unable to hold Congress electorally accountable for its collective legislative performance. In contrast, recent literature has demonstrated that in elections from 1974 onward, voters have regularly used congressional performance evaluations as part of their voting decisions. Specifically, poor evaluations of Congress lower support for candidates from the ruling majority party, all else being equal. This research note hypothesizes that Americans in the earlier era were willing and able to hold Congress electorally accountable for its collective performance in the same partisan fashion as today’s voters are, but that this behavior was obscured from previous researchers because they lacked access to appropriate empirical data. Using survey data largely unavailable to scholars of the earlier era, I find evidence supporting this hypothesis.

Journal Article.  5684 words. 

Subjects: Social Sciences

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