- Sep 2021
Our results cast a rather pessimistic light on dem-ocratic representation in Congress. Although seniorstaffers responsible for advising Representatives andSenators overwhelminglyreport they would like tobase their decisions and recommendations on con-stituent opinion, in practice these staffers have only alimited understanding ofconstituent preferencesacross important policy issues.
I have not taken a government class in over six years so this article was kind of difficult to read. As the results are stated, I understand how the conclusion came to be, but I do not understand what they mean. How can staffers have any influence on policies if they only have a limited understanding of consituent preferences? I know I'm not totally educated on this topic, but it seems like an important factor after reading this article.
We reach these conclusions using an original surveyof senior legislative staffers in Congress merged withmass public opinion data onfive policies: gun control,carbon pollution restrictions, repeal of the AffordableCare Act (ACA), infrastructure spending, and raisingthe minimum wage.
I chose this to discuss in class because it includes some of the most bipartisan opinions in politics. These topics expect a far right/left response, but the study doesn't examine those who might be only moderately left/right and do not have a strong opinion either way.
Yet, little research has examined whether Congressional staff actually recognize thepreferences of their Members’constituents. Using an original survey of senior US Congressionalstaffers, we show that staff systematically mis-estimate constituent opinions. We then evaluate the sources ofthese misperceptions, using observational analyses and two survey experiments. Staffers who rely moreheavily on conservative and business interest groups for policy information have more skewed perceptionsof constituent opinion. Egocentric biases also shape staff perceptions
This entire preface to the introduction acts as an abstract to the article, giving the purpose as to why the research was conducted. The reason for research was to examine whether congressional staff recognize the preferences of their members.
Definition: the action of a person or person seeking to influence a politician or public official on a specific concern.
URLsakai.washjeff.edu/access/content/group/23684-PSY-347-01-2021FAL/Readings for the Week of../Second Week-1/Sept 1st/Hertel-Fernandez et al. - 2019 - Legislative Staff and Representation in Congress.pdf