I would like to thank Barry C. Burden, David Mayhew, and Julia Azari for their comments on earlier drafts of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.
District Complexity and the Personal Vote
Article first published online: 26 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Comparative Legislative Research Center of The University of Iowa
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Volume 37, Issue 4, pages 437–463, November 2012
How to Cite
Wichowsky, A. (2012), District Complexity and the Personal Vote. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 37: 437–463. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-9162.2012.00057.x
- Issue published online: 26 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 26 OCT 2012
Incumbents tend to win with higher margins in less ideologically constrained districts. I argue that incumbents are advantaged by this electoral landscape in part because they work harder to cultivate a personal vote. Utilizing data on earmarks, I find that despite winning with a larger margin of victory, these incumbents act much like their colleagues who narrowly escaped electoral defeat. By more accurately measuring perceptions of electoral vulnerability, we also see stronger evidence linking district marginality to distributive politics. Such incentives appear to stem not from the risks of position taking, but from the weaker party attachments among constituents.