Does Winning Matter in Congress? Connecting Roll Call Success and Electoral Performance in the U.S. House of Representatives
29 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 23, 2014
This paper offers a clarification of positive theories of roll call voting in the form of a Mayhewian apologia, drawing on Mayhew’s classic formulation of the electoral connection with a particular focus on its significance for our understanding of position taking, generally, and roll call voting in particular. The contention is that, as a subfield, the way we have tended to think about roll call voting is largely inconsistent with Mayhew’s conception of position taking. At the same time, the paper identifies a largely ignored empirical regularity — that, all else equal, winning more often on roll calls makes incumbents less likely to win reelection.
Keywords: electoral connection, roll call voting, win rates, US House of Representatives, position taking
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