Political Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 279–300 | Cite as

Who is Punished? Conditions Affecting Voter Evaluations of Legislators Who Do Not Compromise

  • Nichole M. Bauer
  • Laurel Harbridge YongEmail author
  • Yanna Krupnikov
Original Paper


In American politics, legislative compromise is often seen as a necessary and desirable aspect of policymaking, yet people also value politicians who stick to their positions. In this article, we consider these conflicting expectations of legislators and ask two intertwined questions: what conditions lead people to punish legislators for not compromising (when legislative action is at stake) and, conversely, what conditions leave people more willing to overlook a legislator’s unwillingness to engage in compromise? Relying on previous research, we suggest that legislator gender, legislator partisanship, and issue area may all affect which legislators are punished for not compromising. Relying on two national experiments, we demonstrate that the extent to which lawmakers are punished for not compromising is conditional on the intersection of the three factors in this study. In general, our results suggest that people may be most willing to overlook unwillingness to engage in compromise when party, gender and issue ownership align than when party, gender, and issue ownership are at odds.


Compromise Congress Gender Partisanship Issue ownership Public opinion 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11109_2016_9356_MOESM1_ESM.docx (267 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 266 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political Science, Institute for Policy ResearchNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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