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October 17, 2013 2:33 PM The House Vote Broken Down

By Seth Masket

So here’s some quick analysis of the vote (h/t Christian Grose) in the U.S. House of Representatives tonight to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. I have only looked at Republican House members, since all Democrats voted aye.

  • Of the 46 members of the Tea Party Caucus, 39 (85%) voted no. Among the 185 non-Tea Partiers, 105 (57%) voted no.
  • This was an ideological vote. Republican supporters of the bill had a mean ideal point (Jackman’s estimates) of .697; Republican opponents had a mean ideal point of .984.
  • By my count, 24 current House Republicans were serving there at the time of the 1995-96 shutdown. (Thanks to Greg Koger for those data.) Of those who were serving then, 14 (58%) voted aye tonight. That is, those who remember the last shutdown voted to end this one. Newer Republican members voted against today’s bill by a 65-35 margin.
  • Of course, as we know from Thad Hall, newer Republican House members tend to be more conservative than the ones that served in 1995-96. Those current GOP House members who were present at the last shutdown have a mean ideal point of .741. Those who came to the chamber later have a mean ideal point of .885.
  • Reelection concerns matter. Among those representing districts in which Obama got at least 45% of the vote last year, Republicans broke 66-34 in favor of ending the shutdown. Those in which Obama got less than 45% of the vote broke 73-27 against ending the shutdown.

I’ve tried to plot a number of relevant variables on the scatterplot below. Each marker is a Republican member of Congress. Tea Party Caucus members are marked with a “T”, others with an “o”. Those in red opposed tonight’s bill, while those in black supported it. The graph shows the interaction of ideology and experience. Tea Partiers tend to be more conservative and less experienced, and they were much more likely to have voted no tonight. More experienced and less conservative members were more likely to support the measure to end the shutdown.

Oh, and for those of you who get off on this sort of thing, here’s a probit model predicting the likelihood of a Republican House member voting in support of tonight’s bill to end the shutdown. When you include length of service (“years”), ideology (“idealpoint”), Tea Party affiliation (“teaparty”), and the Democratic presidential vote share in their district (“obamavote2012”), only ideology and district vote maintain statistical significance, although Tea Party affiliation comes close.

[Cross-posted at The Mischiefs of Actions]

Seth Masket is an associate professor of political science at the University of Denver.

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