Brought completely up-to-date with the latest data from the National Election Study and the Federal Election Commission, and including coverage and analysis of the dramatic 2006 midterm elections, this seminal work continues to offer a systematic account of what goes on in congressional elections and demonstrates how electoral politics reflect and shape other components of the political system, with profound consequences for representative government. The Seventh Edition of this work -- one of the Longman Classics in Political Science -- provides completely up-to-date coverage of congressional election politics, broadly understood. Jacobson analyzes how congressional campaigns and elections reflect deeper structural patterns and currents in American political life and help determine how -- and how well -- we are governed. The book traces the connections between electoral politics in Congress and other important political phenomena and makes questions of representation and responsibility its chief normative concern.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction. 2. The Context. The Constitutional Framework. Congressional Districts. Partisan Gerrymandering. Racial Gerrymandering. States as Electoral Units. Election Laws. Political Parties. Social and Political Contexts. 3. Congressional Candidates. The Incumbency Factor. Measuring the Value of Incumbency. The Vanishing Marginals. Sources of the Incumbency Advantage. The Institutional Characteristics of Congress. Changes in Voting Behavior. Constituency Service. The Variability of the Incumbency Advantage. Discouraging the Opposition. Money in Congressional Elections. The Connection Between Money and Success. Why Campaign Money Is More Important to Challengers. The Career in the District. Motivating Challengers. 4. Congressional Campaigns. Campaign Money. Political Action Committees. Party Money. Self-Financing by Candidates. Fundraising Tactics. Campaign Organizations. Campaign Strategies. Campaign Media. Personal Campaigning. Campaign Messages. Challengers' Campaigns. Going Negative. Incumbents' Campaigns. Candidates for Open Seats. Senate Campaigns. "Voter Education" and "Issue Advocacy" Campaigns. Concluding Observations. 5. Congressional Voters. Turnout in Congressional Elections. Partisanship in Congressional Elections. Alternative Interpretations of Party Identification. Partisanship and Voting. Information and Voting. Recall and Recognition of Candidates. Contacting Voters. The Effects of Campaign Spending. Models of Voting Behavior. Evaluating Incumbents. Winning Challengers. Issues in Congressional Elections. 6. National Politics and Congressional Elections. Political Interpretations of Congressional Elections. Models of Aggregate Congressional Election Results. Presidential Coattails. National Conditions and Strategic Politics. Campaign Themes. House Elections, 1980-1998. The Clinton Problem. Nationalizing the Vote. The Campaigns. The Scandal and the Campaigns. House Election Patterns, 1980-1998. Senate Elections, 1980-1998. 7. Elections and the Politics of Congress. The Congressional Parties. The Committee Systems. Making Policy. Particularism. Serving the Organized. Immobility. Symbolism. Doing the Right Thing. Building Coalitions. The Budgetary Process. 8. Representation, Responsibility, Impeachment Politics, and the Future of Congressional Elections. Representation. Policy Congruence. Beyond Policy Congruence. Descriptive Representation. Responsiveness without Responsibility. The Revival of Party Cohesion. Ideological Polarization in Congress and the Electorate. Party Polarization: The Electoral Connection. Diverging Electoral Constituencies. Chicken or Egg? Party Polarization and the Politics of Impeachment. Divided Government in the 1990s. Reforming Congress. Term Limits. The Public's Evaluation of Congress. Toward the Millennium. Bibliography. Index.
Gary Jacobson is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California at San Diego. His 1980 book, Money in Congressional Elections, won multiple awards. Since its publication, Jacobson has published numerous books and papers about American politics, Congress, campaign financing, and partisan polarization, including the recent A Divider Not a Uniter: George W. Bush and the American People. He has served on many advisory boards, including the NSF Political Science Advisory Panel, and he holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University.