Holy roll calls: Religious tradition and voting behavior in the U.S. house

Chris Fastnow, J. Tobin Grant, Thomas J. Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Religion influences political behavior among the masses (Leege and Kellstedt, 1993) and among some political elites (Luker, 1984), but it is not well studied as a component of congressional behavior. The purpose of this research is to see if trends demonstrated in the masses are present in the U.S. House of Representatives over time. Methods. We use multivariate analysis of roll call voting on the specific issue of abortion as well as the broad ideologically based voting measure ADA in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1959-94. Results. We find that religious affiliation significantly affects specific and general roll call voting behavior, and that religious groups in Congress differ from one another, both within and across parties. We also find that the influence of religion has changed over time. Conclusions. The effect of religion on roll call voting is persistent, suggesting that models of legislative decision making that exclude religion are underspecified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-701
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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