Constituent Perceptions of Political Representation: How by R. Lauermann

By R. Lauermann

This publication examines the character of illustration in democracy, focusing in particular at the elements shaping constituent reviews of the U.S. residence Representatives and the ensuing implications for presidency.

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Part of the problem may be on the nature of issues researched—are they important to the respondents? In some instances, the answer is yes: increased efforts on the part of representatives could help the constituent make a more educated evaluation. Research conducted on the 1990–1991 NES panel data on the consequences of the Gulf War looked at the relationship between member’s publicity, indirectly through the media and directly through personal contact or mail, and constituent knowledge of the representative’s position.

Although the acts of responsiveness on the part of the representative are a discrete component of the entire process, they relate directly to the final component: accountability. When individuals cast their votes, they do not do so in an isolated situation. They will consider the various actions that have been performed by the representatives while in office and construct a personal evaluation of the representatives’ behavior. These evaluations, in turn, are the key to the final component: accountability.

With the relative decline in party identification over the last several decades, however, the role of the individual candidate has become more and more important, especially at the congressional level as divided government has hampered the parties in government (Abramson, Aldrich and Rohde 2011). Of course, party identification still plays the most significant role in casting a vote, but the evaluation of an incumbent’s behavior also plays a considerable role. 2 Despite the increasing importance of national factors in recent decades, individuals still consider the characteristics of candidates running for office, although party identification still remains the most important characteristic affecting the vote (Asher 1995, Jacobson 2012).

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