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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Issue Accountability in U.S. House Elections


© 2018 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature This paper analyzes the positions Members of Congress take on important aspects of public policy, voters’ preferences on those issues, and individual-level voting behavior in congressional elections. Minimal evidence of issue accountability is found, and its form is different from that reported in previous research. The central implication is that representatives appear to have a good deal of discretion to take positions—at least with respect to voters—without paying an electoral penalty. The “electoral blind spot” (Bawn et al. Perspect Polit 10(3):571–597, 2012) in congressional elections may be substantial.

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