Inferences Made Easy: Partisan Voting in Congress, Voter Awareness, and Senator Approval

Logan Dancey, Geoffrey Sheagley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article investigates whether constituents are able to accurately infer their senators’ votes when the senator frequently votes against the party line. We find that when senators repeatedly vote against the party line, constituents’ ability to correctly identify their senators’ votes drops precipitously while levels of misinformation rise. We then show that citizens represented by senators who tend to vote against the party line are also less able to connect their policy positions with their evaluations of those senators. These findings indicate that there is substantial variation across senators in the ability of their constituents to hold them accountable for their votes while in office. Constituents simply know less about the positions taken by moderate senators and have a harder time aligning their levels of policy agreement with a senator with their evaluation of that senator if she frequently votes against her party.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-874
Number of pages31
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • party cues
  • party unity
  • political knowledge
  • senator approval

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Inferences Made Easy: Partisan Voting in Congress, Voter Awareness, and Senator Approval'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this