Title

The congressional black caucus and vote cohesion: Placing the caucus within house voting patterns

Publication Date

1999

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Roll-call votes of African American representatives are explored to discern more explicitly the ideological cohesiveness of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and factors that affect vote choice. We use adjusted Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) scores. The adjustment corrects for changes in the ADA's scale from year to year. The analysis is carried out focusing on CBC coherence with respect to ideological voting and potential influences on Caucus unity We pool the CBC data from the period under investigation (1971-1996) to address the impact of variables identified as affecting roll call voting. The findings suggest that while there is considerably more diversity within the CBC than we some times imagine, African American representatives are more cohesive with the Black Caucus on roll call behavior than they are with either their regional or state party delegations. In addition, analyses suggest that seniority, correspondence between the president's party and the CBC, presidential policy preferences, percent black voters in the district, and electoral margin of victory in the district may help explain variation in Caucus unity Finally, we conclude high vote cohesion is meaningful for the CBC and the representation of black interests in Congress.

Original Citation

Pinney, N.; Serra, G. (1999). The congressional black caucus and vote cohesion: Placing the caucus within house voting patterns. Political Research Quarterly, 52(3), 583-608

Identifier

DOI: 10.2307/449150