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Stephen A Jessee and Sean M Theriault, "The two faces of congressional roll-call voting," Party Politics, 20 (November, 2014), 836-848. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Not all roll-call votes are the same. They not only involve different public policies, but also different stages in the legislative process.1 Indeed, in a dataset that is becoming the standard for classifying votes, Rohde (2008) develops a list of 70 different kinds of votes from the familiar (e.g. final passage and veto override votes) to the obscure (e.g. perfecting amendment to a substitute and a motion to approve the House Journal). While congressional scholars recognize the differences among these votes, they have sparingly used them analytically to gain insight into the legislative process.

Figure 1. Scatterplots of procedural and final passage ideologies by congress, 93rd to 110th Congress (1973-2008).
Figure 2. The effects of party and constituency on procedural and final passage ideologies, 93rd to 110th Congresses (1973-2008).
Figure 3. Ratio of party and constituency coefficients on procedural and final passage votes, 93rd to 110th Congresses (1973-2008)
Figure 4. Polarization on all, procedural and final passage votes, 93rd to 110th Congresses (1973-2008).

Last Paragraph:
The results presented here clearly demonstrate that the primary forces influencing the voting behaviour of members of Congress show important differences across both vote type and time. In past congresses, the effects of constituency were significantly larger than those of party on both procedural and final passage voting. Over time, however, procedural votes have become increasingly dominated by party influence. While the effects of party have also increased on final passage votes, these two forces appear to be given roughly equal weight by legislators in recent congresses. It has also been shown that while party polarization has increased on all vote types, this increase has been particularly sharp on procedural matters. As a whole, these results demonstrate that, over time, the voting behaviour of members of Congress has become increasingly differentiated, with procedural votes being targeted primarily at a partisan constituency while final passage votes still show a substantial constituency influence. These two faces of congressional voting have evolved over time and have become particularly distinct.

Last updated November 2014