Inspected by #1184063113: The Influence of Incumbents' Competence and Integrity in U.S. House Elections

Carl Mccurley, Jeffery J. Mondak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We argue that voters, as principals, evaluate congressional candidates in terms of whether those candidates will act as effective agents. U.S. House incumbents' levels of competence and integrity influence both the individual-level vote choice and voters' evaluations of their representatives. Indicators of competence and integrity for representatives who entered the House between 1969 and 1981 are merged with the NES cumulative file, with data for the 1976-92 elections. The relationship between incumbent quality and electoral choice is explored in a series of OLS regression and logistic regression models. Incumbents' levels of integrity bring direct influence on both feeling thermometer scores and the vote choice. Competence exerts an indirect effect on the vote by influencing the behavior of prospective challengers.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-885
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • incumbents
  • political partisanship
  • political candidates
  • voting behavior
  • spending
  • datasets
  • legislatures
  • congressional elections
  • almanacs

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