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Dynamic Elite Partisanship: Party Loyalty and Agenda Setting in the US House

Lindstädt, René and Vander Wielen, Ryan J (2014) 'Dynamic Elite Partisanship: Party Loyalty and Agenda Setting in the US House.' British Journal of Political Science, 44 (04). pp. 741-772. ISSN 0007-1234

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Abstract

Legislators and legislative parties must strike a balance between collective and member-level goals. While there are legislative and reputational returns to co-ordinated behavior, partisan loyalty has a detrimental effect on members’ electoral success. This article argues that members and parties navigate these competing forces by pursuing partisan legislation when the threat of electoral repercussions is relatively low – when elections are distant. This study tests our theory by examining US House members’ likelihood of voting with their party on both partisan and non-divisive votes during the course of the election cycle in order to assess whether members strategically alter their levels of party loyalty as elections approach. It also explores whether majority parties strategically structure the agenda according to variation in members’ electoral constraints. This approach allows elite partisanship to follow a dynamic process, which is referred to here as dynamic elite partisanship. The results demonstrate that as elections approach, members are less likely to cast party votes, and parties are less inclined to schedule votes that divide the parties. At the same time, the study finds no evidence of strategic variation in members’ voting behavior on broadly consensual votes with election proximity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2014 12:13
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2014 12:13
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/12145

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