Do U.S. Senators Moderate Strategically?

Robert A. Bernstein, Gerald C. Wright, Michael B. Berkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Do U.S. senators adjust their policy positions or voting behavior—engage in “strategic moderation”—in their quest for reelection? In the June 1986 issue of this Review, Gerald Wright and Michael Berkman sought to demonstrate that Senate incumbents moderate their ideological positions as elections near. This endeavor was part of their larger effort to show the importance of policy issues in the selection of members of Congress. Robert Bernstein takes the view that the claims about strategic moderation rest on methodological flaws. But Wright and Berkman argue that most investigators agree on the general direction of senatorial candidate behavior. The controversy turns on conception and interpretation of analytical results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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