Do Women in Congress Vote Alike?
Traditionally, female Members of Congress have been thought to be more liberal than men. Although a few early studies of women’s voting scores suggested this trend (Leader 1977; Welch 1985), the pattern has varied over time (see Vega and Firestone 1995). In the end, gender is only one factor in the complex matrix of Members’ voting behavior. Many other factors, such as the Member’s constituency interests, party affiliation, personal ideology, and ethnicity, are much stronger predictors of his or her voting behavior in Congress (Welch 1985; Vega and Firestone 1995; Schwindt 2000). For example, Swers (2002) states: “The influence of gender on a member’s legislative behavior is highly dependent on his/her overall political ideology” (273).
KeywordsVote Behavior Republican Party Feminist Issue Institutional Connection Party Elite
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