Wedge Issue Politics: The Effects of Controversial Issues on Legislative Behavior

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Title: Wedge Issue Politics: The Effects of Controversial Issues on Legislative Behavior
Creators: Bowman, Kate
Advisor: Paul, David
Issue Date: 2006-06
Abstract: This undergraduate senior thesis studies the effects of wedge issues on the legislative process. This study seeks to explore the hypothesis that legislators align their positions on wedge issues with the positions of their districts in order to gain reelection. Specifically, it examines representation in order to determine whether the representational affiliation of a member of Congress, such as delegate or trustee, is shifted due to district opinions on wedge issue. In order to test the hypothesis, a review of the literature has been conducted to determine current trends in representation, as well as to clearly define the meaning of the term “wedge issue.” Data will be gathered from various statewide ballot initiatives and referendums regarding stem cell research and same-sex marriage in order to determine district opinion. The behavior of representatives, as demonstrated in roll call votes relating to the above wedge issues, will then be analyzed to determine whether stances changed in accordance with the popular opinion of representatives’ districts.
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. Department of Political Science Honors Theses; 2006
Keywords: legislature
roll call voting
wedge issue
single issue
stem cell research
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