Bipartisan Legislative Delegations and the Mean-Seeking Hypothesis:
The Case of Washington, 1948–96
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:499-515
This study examines the hypothesis that voters seek political moderation by balancing one party with the other. Washington State’s weak parties and its bicameral, multimember legislative districts are especially conducive to examining this idea. Therefore, I analyze state legislative election outcomes in Washington State from 1948 to 1996. While divided legislative districts are more ideologically moderate, the variety of patterns by which districts are divided, the frequency with which the same district is both divided and unified, and the frequency of unique patterns of division and unification make it very difficult to infer that district voters are consistently and systematically balancing parties in search of moderation. Divided outcomes are also associated with several measures of mobilization, suggesting that such outcomes are instead by-products of district circumstances, a conclusion also reached by research using individual-level data.
Return to 2000 Titles
Return to LSQ home page