American Political Science Review

Research Notes

Congressional Voting over Legislative Careers: Shifting Positions and Changing Constraints

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University


The proposed model predicts that voting behavior of legislators is more variable early in their career and that junior members are more likely to vote with their party than senior members. The results from the analysis of voting patterns in the House of Representatives and the Senate are consistent with the hypotheses: Party line voting and variability of voting decisions decline with increasing seniority. Changes in voting behavior are also induced by redistricting. The empirical results show that legislators subject to redistricting change their voting behavior to accord better with altered constituency preferences.

Thomas Stratmann is Professor of Economics, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444.