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An Analysis of the Relationship Between Strategies in United States Congressional Campaigns and Legislative Effectiveness

Presenters Name: 
Paige Singer
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Craig Volden
Secondary Research Mentor: 
11:00 - 12:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 11:00am to 12:15pm
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

In this study, we seek to identify a relationship between the content of campaigns of Congressional candidates and their legislative effectiveness once in office. We believe that by applying previous indicators researched by the Center of Effective Lawmaking we have identified in campaigns 15 variables that may predict legislative effectiveness. First, we gathered data from the initial campaigns for all US House of Representatives serving in the 113th Congress. Then, research assistants coded each of these campaigns on the 15 indicator variables. Each candidate was coded by two assistants, and we are currently in the process of reconciling differences. This data will then be analyzed for each variable given predicted trends or potential relations to legislative effectiveness. Legislative effectiveness is a weighted combination of 15 metrics which capture how many bills a legislator introduces, how far they moved toward become a law, and how important their proposals are. Our predicted findings are that each of these variables is indicative, sometimes conditionally upon other factors, of a candidate’s ability to keep more of their bills alive longer in Congress once elected. For example, candidates who express a commitment to bipartisanship or cite professional experience in their campaigns are hypothesized to be more likely to be effective. Those who run negative campaigns or change their views on issues are less likely to be effective. The implications of these findings may allow voters to have a more accurate perception of a candidate’s likelihood to be effective before they are elected into office.