R. MICHAEL ALVAREZ AND PAUL GRONKE
Constituents and Legislators: Learning About the Persian Gulf War Resolution
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:105-27

This study examines how much citizens know about a highly salient roll-call vote: the Gulf War Use of Force Resolution. Citizens' awareness of how their representatives voted, while not great, was not trivial. Drawing on survey response theory, the authors determine that how well citizens are able to recall or guess their representatives' positions is structured by individual characteristics and a reasonable set of contextual cues. In their conclusion, the authors draw implications for the impact of public opinion on foreign policy, the ability of citizens to monitor their representatives in noncampaign periods, and for theories of the representation process.


 

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