Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Hatcher, Laura

Abstract

While political scientists know much about roll call voting, we still have much to learn about the way perceptions of constituents, personal priorities, and other factors shape the way legislators prioritize their voting preferences. This research is qualitative and interpretive in nature, making use of elite interviews and supplemented with archival materials when possible. These data include six semi-structured interviews with members of the Illinois congressional delegation representing Southern Illinois. Service to constituents has continually been an indicator of how effective an elected official is within their home district, their decisions concerning who to listen to, and what they will allow to influence them also shape what is, arguably, the most important action they take on behalf of their constituents, i.e., vote on legislation. Despite different approaches to leading, the legislative needs of Southern Illinois are matters of great importance to the individuals interviewed in this research. The interviews also indicate that the passions outlined by the members of Congress are things that have a direct link to Southern Illinois.

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