English (United States)
This thesis examines whether the relationship between members of Congress and their constituents has changed as increased partisanship and polarization have altered the American political environment. I investigate the link between district demographics, district ideology, and member ideology to determine the factors to which members are most responsive. Largely drawing on US Census data, DW-NOMINATE scores, and my own original data, I pay special attention to House Republican legislation related to nationally salient issues—the Affordable Care Act and executive action on immigration—under the Obama administration. I find that members’ own ideological leanings affect their decisions to sponsor and cosponsor, as do demographic factors, although neither factor is a consistent influence on behavior. The district’s strength of partisan preference, however, does not play a role. As a result, contemporary conceptions of member responsiveness to constituents should reflect this nuanced view of legislative behavior.
Wulderk, Zachary Ryan, "Congress and the Constituent: Investigating Member Responsiveness in Contemporary Congresses" (2015). Honors Theses - All. 1451.
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