Butler, D., Karpowitz, C., & Pope, J. (2017). Who Gets the Credit? Legislative Responsiveness and Evaluations of Members, Parties, and the US Congress. Political Science Research and Methods, 5(2), 351-366. doi:10.1017/psrm.2015.83
This article considers the hypothesis that the positive actions taken by members of Congress (MCs) influence citizens’ evaluations of them, their party, and Congress as an institution. We begin with a look at the available cross-sectional survey data on contact with legislators and legislator and institutional approval. Their legislative responsiveness appears to have a small spillover effect on institutions. However, when we employ a unique panel design that controls for prior levels of opinion and avoids recall bias, we find no evidence of spillover effects. Overall, we find that constituents who received a response from their own MC evaluate that representative more positively than those who did not receive a response, but legislator responsiveness does not predict evaluations of the MC’s political party or the Congress.
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