Strategic timing, position-taking, and impeachment in the house of representatives

Gregory A. Caldeira, Christopher Zorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We examine the timing of members' position-taking in the House of Representatives' decision to impeach President Clinton. Based on our understanding of the goals of members and leaders, we expect members whose constituencies, interest group influences, and partisanship are in alignment to make their positions known quickly, and those with conflicting or ambiguous signals to delay. We further expect members' electoral circumstances within their own party - the potential for a primary challenge - to condition the impact of interest-group connections on that timing. Our findings indicate that, while the influence of cross-pressures on timing was universal, Republicans who faced primaries in 1998 were more sensitive to the concerns of their political "base," and less susceptible to cross-pressures, than were those unopposed within their own party. We also show that, over and above the effects of ideology and partisanship, Republican members who delayed their announcements were more likely to split their votes between yeas and nays than those who took early positions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-527
Number of pages11
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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