Reassessing the Incumbency Effect

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Overview

Incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives have presumably increased their vote percentages in recent decades, raising questions about the efficacy of elections in making members responsive. The evidence, however, indicates there has been no improvement in the electoral fortunes of incumbents in the last 50 years. Only Republicans have improved their electoral fortunes as a result of realignment. This valuable book provides a very different interpretation of how incumbents have fared in recent decades, and the interpretation is supported by non-technical data analysis and presentation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521733229
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey M. Stonecash is Maxwell Professor in the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He researches political parties, changes in their electoral bases, and how these changes affect political polarization and public policy debates. His recent books are Class and Party in American Politics (2000), Diverging Parties (2002), Political Polling (2003), Parties Matter (2005), and Split: Class and Cultural Divisions in American Politics (2007). He is now working with Mark Brewer on a book about the dynamics of party realignment since 1900. He has done polling and consulting for political candidates since 1985.

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Table of Contents

Part I. An Increased Incumbency Effect: Reconsidering Evidence: 1. An increased incumbency effect and American politics; 2. The consensus about a greater incumbency effect; 3. The trend in incumbent vote percentages; 4. Cumulative career changes; 5. The retirement slump; Part II. Realignment and the Fortunes of (Some) Incumbents: 6. An alternative framework: the role of realignment; 7. A partisan view of incumbent percentages; 8. The role of realignment; 9. Conclusions and implications; Part III. Appendices: More Detailed Analyses of Incumbency Indicators: Appendix A. The Gelman–King estimation; Appendix B. Realignment and the retirement slump; Appendix C. The data.

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