Redistricting and familiarity with U.S. house candidates

Seth C. McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Redistricting has the effect of placing numerous voters into districts with a different incumbent seeking reelection. This event brings up an important question that has not been empirically tested: Are redrawn individuals, those who have a new incumbent because of redistricting, less likely to know who their new representative is? Furthermore, is there a difference in the rates of recall and recognition of challengers as a consequence of redistricting? This research note examines the influence of redistricting on recall and recognition of U.S. House candidates with use of the American National Elections Studies panel surveys for the 1992 and 2002 elections. Whether the measure is recall or recognition, redrawn respondents are significantly less likely to identify their incumbent as compared with individuals with the same incumbent seeking reelection. In contrast, with the exception of candidate name recall in 1992, redistricting does not affect the likelihood of identifying House challengers. This study demonstrates that redistricting constitutes another institutional feature of the American electoral system that raises the costs of political information because redrawn constituents are less familiar with their new representative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-979
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Candidate recall
  • Candidate recognition
  • Elections
  • Personal vote
  • Political geography
  • Redistricting
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • Voting


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