Evaluate the Significance of the Factors That Influence Voting in Congress?

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Evaluate the significance of the factors that influence voting in congress? (15 marks )

House and senate members are called upon to cast a large number of votes each year. In 2007 representatives voted 1,186 times. There are many factors which influence how members of congress vote.

One factor that influences voting in congress is parties. The whip system in congress is relatively weak, unlike in the UK party whips have no effective way of persuading congress members to vote in line with their party. Deselection is not possible as the party’s candidate is chosen by the public through the system of primaries . Joseph Lieberman a former Democrat senator was deselected by the Democrat party from standing as the Democrat candidate in the state of Connecticut . He later stood as a independent candidate and won the votes of republican supporters thereby defeating the Democrat candidate who replaced him.

In addition there are big party differences within the parties. Southern Democrats would have a more conservative approach in some areas of politics, well Democrats from the east coast can we seen to be more liberal. As a result both sides of the party are likely to have some disagreement on issues such as the economy and moral issues such as abortion. Thus showing that parties are not ideologically and geographically cohesive.

A second factor which effects voting in congress is constituents. This can be considered to have a huge influence in the House as they face re-election more frequently (every 2 years ) than the senate who enjoy six year terms . House members also need to vote in a way that meets the wishes of their district ,as they have to make sure their constituents elect them in the primaries.

A third factor that influences voting in congress is personal views. Social and moral issues are voted on with out the use of party whips. For example issues such as euthanasia and abortion . These issues were very important in the 2004 presidential...
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