The dynamics of interest group evaluations of Congress

  • Keith T. Poole
  • Howard Rosenthal


We apply a dynamic spatial model to interest group ratings of the members of Congress over the period 1959–1981. Spatial distances between an interest group and the members of Congress are assumed to be monotonic with the ratings. Our pooled cross-sectional time-series data set consists of 203,387 ratings by 59 interest groups. We restrict the spatial coordinates of the interest groups and members of Congress to be polynomial functions of time. Two significant dimensions are recovered: the first dimension, which accounts for approximately 75% of the variance, represents liberal-conservative positions on economic issues; the second dimension, which accounts for approximately an additional 5% of the variance, represents liberal-conservative positions on social issues. Nearly all the interest groups and most members of Congress are ideologically consistent. They are either liberal on both dimensions or conservative on both.


Interest Group Social Dimension Economic Dimension American Political Science Review Strategic Vote 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith T. Poole
    • 1
  • Howard Rosenthal
    • 2
  1. 1.Carnegie-Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of PoliticsPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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