Public Choice

, Volume 156, Issue 1–2, pp 77–94 | Cite as

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



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.


Candidate positioning Median voter theorem 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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