Partisan turnover in congressional elections, 1972-1996: A district level approach
AuthorWitmer, Richard Clarence
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPrior research on congressional elections is decidedly candidate centered. While candidates are important to the electoral process, the individual is but one of a number of factors in congressional elections. In this research I expand the debate on congressional elections to include how political parties survive across time in congressional districts. To do this I model party turnover from 1972 to 1996 using a number of district level attributes. This includes whether an incumbent candidate is seeking reelection, competitiveness of the district in the previous election, length of time a district has supported the incumbent party, district context (and district context change) and region of the country. The probability of a quality challenger emerging in a congressional district is also estimated given the aforementioned district level attributes. Presence of a quality challenger is then added to the district level model and the probability of party turnover is estimated. To estimate the effects of district level attributes on party turnover, an event history analysis with a logit specification is used. This allows for the inclusion of duration dependence given a binomial dependent variable. The implications for this research are numerous, including the effects of party turnover on representation and redistributive benefits for a congressional district. A second implication focuses on how political context affects the survival of political parties in congressional districts given the redistricting process. Finally, the possible effects of district level attributes and party turnover on party mobilization and voter turnout are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College