Previous research posits that constituents' evaluations of senators will vary over time depending on if a senator is up for re-election or not. In order to test the effect of the Senate electoral cycle on constituent opinion, we take advantage of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study's survey panel from 2010, 2012, and 2014. These data are particularly well suited for our study because they allow us to examine the same constituents' opinions of the same senators at various stages in the Senate electoral cycle. While our analysis finds some variation in constituent evaluations over time, many of these differences are either statistically insignificant or substantively negligible. On balance, we find much more consistency in constituent evaluations over time, but the relationship can be more nuanced and conditional on the level of electoral competition. Specifically, we find that competitive elections lead to an increased association between policy agreement and constituent evaluations.
- Constituent evaluations