Historians of the U.S. Congress often draw claims from interpretations of legislators' rhetoric and the outcomes of key votes. In this article, the author tells a cautionary tale: Such strategies ignore the correspondence between roll-call voting on select issues and broader coalitional structures in Congress. He does so by examining contrary positions about a key issue during the New Deal: On the one hand, some researchers claim that reasoned congressional deliberation on the issue of administrative oversight was separate from the prevailing legislative concerns of the day. Other scholars, on the other hand, assert that the prevailing issue dimensions in Congress included administrative oversight. Using a Bayesian measurement method, Ordinary Least Squares, and probit regression, and a novel selection of roll-call data, the author tested these claims, concluding that broader coalitional structures subsumed issues of administration.
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