Short Paper #3: The Electoral Connection

In researching and writing this paper, you will analyze how members of Congress attempt to make what David Mayhew refers to as the “electoral connection” through online constituent communication, as well considering the possible limitations of Mayhew’s concept in the present political context.


Select a member of the House of Representatives (your own or any other member you are interested in writing about). Locate their website using the following search tool:

Search your member’s website for any evidence of the following behaviors: credit claiming, position taking, and advertising. Make sure that your evidence is consistent with Mayhew’s definitions.

Analysis and Write-Up:

Write up an analysis of your member’s behavior using the following format, including the following three section headings. You do not need to include an introduction. The completed analysis should be about 2-3 pages, double-spaced (12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins).

I. Observations: 3 brief paragraphs describing any evidence you found for each of the three behaviors identified by Mayhew. Be sure to clearly identify how the evidence fits with Mayhew’s definitions. If you cannot find any evidence for one of the behaviors, be sure to note that as well.
II. Interpretations: 1-2 paragraphs answering the following questions:
a. Are any behaviors particularly prominent?
b. Are any behaviors missing?
c. Why might this be?
III. Preliminary Conclusions: 1 paragraph, answering the following question: Do the behaviors you identified suggest that your member is a good representative of your district? Why or why not?

On a separate page at the end of your paper, please include a bibliography listing your member’s website and Mayhew’s The Electoral Connection, both cited using a standard citation format. There is no expectation or requirement that you will do any additional outside research or cite other sources, but if you do so, you should include them here as well.

When I’m grading this assignment, here’s what I’ll be looking for:

1. Complete and thoughtful analysis responding to the three sections outlined above.
2. Correct application of course concepts to the evidence located on your member’s website.
3. Clear, concise, error-free, and professional/academic writing style.

To submit this assignment: Check to make sure your paper is properly formatted, save as a Word document, and post to Canvas before the due date.

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