The Effect of Messages Communicated by Members of Congress:
The Impact of Publicizing Votes
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:81-100
Although much of the literature examining congressional behavior presumes that representatives can influence how their constituents view them, there is little evidence supporting this belief. Focusing on members’ attempts to convey their positions on two high-profile votes--the 1991 Persian Gulf War Use of Force Resolution and the 1993 Budget-Reconciliation Conference Report--I show that these efforts can indeed be successful. Members’ messages to constituents are proxied by the content of official newsletters. Employing National Election Study survey data, I demonstrate that respondents whose representatives put forth the effort to publicize these votes were significantly better able to state correctly their representatives’ positions on these issues.
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