Reelection constituencies and the politics of Supreme Court confirmation votes

L. Marvin Overby, Robert D. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Previous research on the effects of constituency preferences on senators' voting behavior on judicial confirmations has been limited to geographic conceptions of constituency. We extend this literature by considering the effects of reelection constituencies. Using exit poll data from the 1986, 1988, and 1990 general elections, we estimate the percentage of each senator's reelection constituency composed of African Americans and then use these estimates to reconsider the confirmation vote for Justice Clarence Thomas. Our results show modest but significant improvements in fit and predictive capabilities over previous models, and they highlight the cross pressures facing many senators in this case. These findings suggest that more precise estimations of constituency composition can help illuminate the factors influencing legislators' voting behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-178
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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