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Roger Scully and Samuel C. Patterson, "Ideology, Partisanship and Decision-Making in a Contemporary American Legislature," Party Politics, 7 (March 2001), 131-155.

First Paragraph:
Traditional views of American politics have been ones where ideology plays only a limited role. Explanations of the behavior of both the mass public and political elites have typically been grounded in a perspective where, catch-all' parties of necessity eschew divisive ideological disputes. In his recent major study of 'party ideologies', John Gerring asks, 'Are the major American parties ideological?' and he answers, 'Most observers would say no, perhaps with the qualification that they once were. Gerring follows in a long tradition: classic writers about American politics - including 19th century exemplars like Alexis de Tocqueville, James Bryce or Woodrow Wilson, and more recent commentators like Richard Hofstadter or Louis Hartz - espoused what Gerring calls the 'decline-of-ideology jeremiad', believing that American party politics is or was relatively non-ideological (Getting, 1998: 3-4).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Ohio State Legislators' Ideological Orientations, 1993 (in percent) p. 136
Table 2: Legislators' ideological profiles, percentage by party p. 137
Table 3: Factor loadings for legislators' ideological orientations (varimax roation) p. 138
Table 4: Ohio legislators' partisan orientations p. 140
Table 5: Party support and party voting, percentage by party p. 141
Table 6: Regression estimates (standard errors) for party voting by Ohio legislators p. 146
Table 7: Regression estimates (standard errors) for party voting by Ohio legislators, by party p. 147
Table 8: Regression estimates (standard errors) for ideological voting by Ohio legislators p. 147
Table 9: Regression estimates (standard errors) for ideological voting by Ohio legislators, by party p. 148
Appendix: Index of Ideological Voting by Ohio Legislators, 1993-94 p. 150

Last Paragraph:
Much of the literature on legislative behaviour in the US has tended to underplay both ideology and partisan attitudes as explanatory factors. At the root of this neglect lie several things, including a more general belief that American politics is fundamentally non-ideological, the alternative foci of the instrumentalist perspective that dominates recent theoretical work, and the severe methodological problems often encountered in measuring such beliefs separately from the behaviour they might purport to explain. Several important implications are, therefore, suggested by this study. The first, and most straightforward, lesson to be drawn is that in the legislative arena, as elsewhere, contemporary American politics is both rather more ideological, and more partisan, than it has often received credit for being. A second implication, which follows directly from the first, is that while the gathering of such data may often prove difficult, measures of party loyalties and ideological orientations that are independent of their voting behaviour are all but-essential if we wish to understand fully the relationship between them and the behaviour of legislators. The final implication is that, having demonstrated the importance of ideological and partisan attitudes, the challenge that remains is to incorporate these concepts more fully into our theoretical understandings of contemporary American legislative politics.