, Volume 156, Issue 1-2, pp 77-94
Date: 25 Oct 2012

Candidate positioning and responsiveness to constituent opinion in the U.S. House of Representatives

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Abstract

In this paper, I develop a survey-based measure of district ideology for the House of Representatives. I use this index to document and study ways in which patterns of candidate positioning depart from perfect representation. These findings help distinguish between competing theories of candidate positioning. My findings present evidence against theories that attribute divergence to the preferences of voters and the locations of primary constituencies. My findings are potentially consistent with the policy-motivation and resource theories, which attribute divergence to the polarization of political elites.