Agreeing to disagree: Agenda content and senate partisanship, 1981-2004

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32 Scopus citations


This article presents evidence that the recent increase in partisanship in Senate roll-call voting is partly due to changes in the content of the Senate agenda. The analysis draws on an original dataset classifying Senate roll-call votes from 1981 to 2004 according to substantive issue content. Over the past two decades, the types of issues that were most divisive along partisan lines in earlier periods became progressively more prominent on the Senate roll-call agenda. Even when one controls for the effects of other electoral and institutional factors, one finds that the shifting agenda notably contributed to the rise in Senate partisanship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-222
Number of pages24
JournalLegislative Studies Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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