The Iraq War, Partisanship, and Candidate Attributes: Explaining Variation in Partisan Swing in the 2006 U.S. House Elections
35 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2007
Although partisan swing is often assumed to be uniform across congressional districts, our analysis of the 2006 House elections demonstrates that systematic variation exists. In addition to incumbency status, partisanship, spending, and scandal, we find that variation in the local salience of national issues across districts affected the vote shift. Notably, partisan swing in Republican districts proved highly sensitive to the number of Iraq war deaths from that district and, to a lesser degree, to the roll-call vote of Republican House members on the war resolution. These findings have implications for theories of anticipatory representation, retrospective voting, and electoral accountability.
This article is forthcoming in the Legislative Studies Quarterly, 32:4 November 2007.
Keywords: iraq, congress, elections, partisan swing, casualties, war, responsible party government, political parties, representation
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