Issue Politics in Congress

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 10, 2005 - Political Science
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Do representatives and senators respond to the critiques raised by their challengers? This study, one of the first to explore how legislators' experiences as candidates shape their subsequent behavior as policy makers, demonstrates that they do. Winning legislators regularly take up their challengers' priority issues from the last campaign and act on them in office, a phenomenon called 'issue uptake'. This attentiveness to their challengers' issues reflects a widespread and systematic yet largely unrecognized mode of responsiveness in the US Congress, but it is one with important benefits for the legislators who undertake it and for the health and legitimacy of the representative process. This book provides fresh insight into questions regarding the electoral connection in legislative behavior, the role of campaigns and elections, and the nature and quality of congressional representation.
 

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Contents

A Theory of Issue Uptake
19
The Nature of Campaign and Legislative Agendas
43
Figures
59
Assessing Uptake
71
Who Responds? Explaining Individual Variation in Uptake
89
4a Relationship between Vulnerability and Uptake
105
8a Vulnerability and Uptake for Very Safe Representatives
111
Patterns of Responsiveness in Congress
114
Introductions Cosponsorships and Floor Statements
119
The Electoral Impacts of Uptake
128
Uptake and Public Policy
150
Elections Governance and Representation
167
References
193
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About the author (2005)

Tracy Sulkin is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She received her PhD from the University of Washington in 2002. Her work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, Political Analysis, American Politics Research, and Political Psychology. This book is based on her dissertation, which won APSA's Schattschneider Award in 2003.

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