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Congress 2

pg. 364-7

QuestionAnswer
2.1 a) Define an incumbent. Those already holding office.
2.1 b) What is the most predictable aspect of congressional elections? In congressional elections, incumbents usually win.
2.1 c) Provide numbers to support the above (What is the most predictable aspect of congressional elections). In 2010, a year of great political upheaval, (Rep. gained 6 in Senate, and 63 in House) 84% of incumbent senators and 85% of incumbent representatives won.
2.2 a) In terms of winning re-election, what is true of the House? +90% of incumbents seeking reelection win, and most win by +60%, even when the challengers' positions on the issues are closer to the voters' positions.
2.2 b) In terms of winning re-election, what is true of the Senate? They tend to win by narrower margins.
2.2 c) Provide 3 reasons for the discrepancy above (House and Senate re-election). The state is more diverse than a congressional district and thus provides a larger base for opposition to an incumbent. Senators have less personal contact w/their constituencies (10x larger). They receive more coverage in the media and are blamed.
2.3 Why does voter knowledge not explain incumbent success? Most citizens have trouble recalling the names of their congressional representatives, let alone keeping up with their representatives' voting records.
2.4 Why does the state of the economy not explain incumbent success? Members of Congress do not gain or lose many votes as a result of the ups and downs of the economy.
2.5 What 3 primary activities engaged in by incumbents increase the probability of their re-election? Advertising, credit claiming, and position taking
2.6 a) What does advertising not mean for members of Congress? Placing ads in the newspapers and on TV
2.6 b) What does it mean and what is the goal of advertising? Between elections in the form of contact with constituents. The goal is visibility.
2.6 c) What do members of Congress work hard at? Getting themselves known in their constituencies, and they usually succeed.
2.6 d) Define franking. Mailing newsletters to every household in their constituency. They track the interests of individual voters, file info in a database, and then use e-mails or phone calls to engage directly with voters on issues they know they care about.
2.6 e) What do members of Congress typically do within a week ("name recognition")? Members on Congress spend some time in their home districts, even though their districts may be hundreds of miles from Washington.
2.7 a) Define credit claiming. Enhancing their standing with constituents through service to individuals and the district.
2.7 b) Explain the image a member of Congress wishes to cultivate (as told to Richard Fenno). A moderate image (not conservative or liberal).
2.8 How does one's policymaking record "cut both ways?" Members can go and stress their policymaking record and their stands on new policy issues on the agenda but that it makes enemies as well as friends.
2.9 a) What "always makes friends?" Servicing the constituency
2.9 b) Define casework. Activities of members of Congress that help constituents as individuals, particularly by cutting through bureaucratic red tape to get people what they think they have a right to get.
2.9 c) Provide two specific examples of casework. Getting your check from the Social Security Administration on time, or getting federal bureaucrats to respond to your town's request for federal construction money.
2.10 a) Define pork barrel legislation (aka earmarks). Federal projects, grants, and contracts available to state and local governments, businesses, colleges, and other institutions in a congressional district.
2.10 b) Provide two things members of Congress love to take credit for. casework and pork barrel
2.11 a) What potentially scares off effective opponents in congressional elections? Incumbency
2.11 b) As a result (What potentially scares off effective opponents in congressional elections?), what is true? Those individuals who do run are usually not well known or well qualified and lack experience and organizational and financial backing.
2.11 c) Why is lack of adequate campaign funds a special burden for challengers? The lack of adequate campaign funds is a special burden because challengers need money to compensate for the "free" recognition incumbents receive from their advertising and credit claiming.
Created by: Matti