Who Gets the Credit? Legislative Responsiveness and Evaluations of Members, Parties, and the US Congress

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Authors Daniel Mark Butler, Christopher F. Karpowitz, Jeremy C. Pope
Journal/Conference Name POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AND METHODS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract This article considers the hypothesis that the positive actions taken by members of Congress (MCs) influence citizens’ evaluations of them, their party, and Congress as an institution. We begin with a look at the available cross-sectional survey data on contact with legislators and legislator and institutional approval. Their legislative responsiveness appears to have a small spillover effect on institutions. However, when we employ a unique panel design that controls for prior levels of opinion and avoids recall bias, we find no evidence of spillover effects. Overall, we find that constituents who received a response from their own MC evaluate that representative more positively than those who did not receive a response, but legislator responsiveness does not predict evaluations of the MC’s political party or the Congress.
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R
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