- The Oxford Handbooks of American Politics
- About the Contributors
- Behavioral Approaches to the Study of Congress
- Formal Approaches to the Study of Congress
- Measuring Legislative Preferences
- Touching the Bones: Interviewing and Direct Observational Studies of Congress
- Historical Approaches to the Study of Congress: Toward a Congressional Vantage on American Political Development
- House and Senate Elections
- Congressional Campaigns
- Congressional Redistricting
- Campaign Finance in Congressional Elections
- Descriptive Representation: Understanding the Impact of Identity on Substantive Representation of Group Interests
- Bicameral Representation
- Dyadic Representation
- Pork Barrel Politics
- Public Opinion and Congressional Policy
- Public Evaluations of Congress
- Party Leadership
- Congressional Committees
- The Supermajority Senate
- Managing Plenary Time: The U.S. Congress in Comparative Context
- Congressional Reforms
- The Congressional Budget Process
- Party Polarization
- Deliberation in Congress
- Roll‐Call Votes
- Lobbying and Interest Group Advocacy
- The Ties That Bind: Coalitions in Congress
- Legislative Productivity and Gridlock
- The Development of Congressional Elections
- The Evolution of Party Leadership
- The Development of the Congressional Committee System
- Majority Rule and Minority Rights
- Sectionalism and Congressional Development
- Congress and the Executive Branch: Delegation and Presidential Dominance
- Congressional War Powers
- The Amorphous Relationship between Congress and the Courts
- Reflections on the Study of Congress 1969–2009
- Theorizing about Congress
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
Voting is the most visible and potentially vulnerable act that members of Congress perform. Roll-call votes occur in the open and are recorded for posterity in the public record. Roll-call votes are specifically influenced by the political, financial, and electoral support of party leaders, donors, constituents, and interest groups. In addition to these influences, voting of the members of Congress is also constrained in two ways: constitutional constraints and institutional constraints. These two constraints not only affect how the members vote but more importantly on what they vote. This article outlines influences on roll-call voting, discusses resolved debates in the literature and identifies fertile ground for future research on roll-call votes. In the first section, variables which affect voting behavior of Congress such as the constituents, the political parties, the presidents, and the interest groups are examined. The second section looks at literature that elucidates on the different influences behind roll-call votes and the effect of party control on the legislative agenda. The last section discusses future research areas such as the effect of variation of roll-call votes in member decision-making, the difference of roll-call decisions to member decisions on other forms of legislative participation, the effect of external stimuli on member decision-making, and the effect of negative agenda power.
Keywords: voting, roll-call votes, constitutional constraints, institutional constraints, roll-call voting influences, constituents, political parties, interest groups, party control, legislative agenda
Sean Theriault is associate professor of government at the University of Texas, Austin.
Patrick Hickey is a Ph.D. candidate in government at the University of Texas, Austin.
Abby Blass is a Ph.D. candidate in government at the University of Texas, Austin.
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