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

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Gregory, Does Winning Matter in Congress? Connecting Roll Call Success and Electoral Performance in the U.S. House of Representatives (April 23, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2428194 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2428194

Gregory Robinson (Contact Author)

Binghamton University ( email )

PO Box 6001
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States

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