Using congressional districts as primary sampling units, the 1978 National Election Survey provides improved (though still imperfect) measures of district opinion. Together with Census data on district demography, roll call voting scales, and information on congressmen's party and personal characteristics, they permit a new examination of representation in Congress. Using these data we found a high degree of representation of district opinion on social welfare and (surprisingly) on women's issues, nearly as much on racial issues, and much less on law and order or on abortion. District demography and congressmen's party add substantially to the explanation of roll call votes. There is not, however, much “responsible party” representation in Congress. Future representation studies must face questions about the complex interplay among these factors, including reciprocal influences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences(all)
- History and Philosophy of Science