Stronger Bridges: Putting Congress and State Legislatures in Common Ideological Space
In an earlier paper, I addressed the problem of putting state legislatures on a cross- institutional common space with Congress. I relied on new roll call data from these legislatures, and a bridging technique involving state legislators who served in Congress later in their careers. This bridging approach is inherently limited because the supply of those who “graduate" is inherently limited by state size, the incumbency advantage, and the limited extent of the state roll call data. I adopt a new approach, employing the Votesmart questionnaire administered to campaigning politicians every election year. The number of respondents and the broad range of questions asked allow me to treat respondents as bridge actors. I thus expand the number of states in common space immediately to 30 (from 9) [covering 89% of the US population], with the promise of nearly all 50 states very near. This new data allows me to answer important questions about polarization, policy output, and party strength.
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