By Hanna F. Pitkin
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An explanation for this unexpected finding can be best understood when we examine the influence of region-that is, the differences in party support between nonsouthern and southern members of the House. Mean support scores of regional party members are displayed in figure 5 (amendments) and figure 6 (final roll calls). As the data in the figures show, region remains an important cleavage in American political life. The patterns across time show that nonsouthern Democrats, on average, are more likely to support legislation of this nature than any other regional party group in the analysis.
The data are based on the Congress that voted on the 1982 extension of the Voting Rights Act. As the table reveals, on average Democrats are more likely to be elected to office as the proportion of blacks increases across congressional districts. 2) over southern Republicans in the smallest-percentage black category. In contrast, virtually all representatives were Democrats in the highest-percentage black category. When blacks make up a sizable proportion of the population in a district, they may join with moderate to liberal whites to elect more Democrats to office.
In other words, since 1960 more Republicans have voted against all of the amendments used in this analysis then decided to vote for the final bill. For example, in 1981 nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of voting House Republicans cast their votes against all of the voting rights amendments in the study then later decided to vote for the extension of the act. No Republicans voted in this manner in 1957 or 1960, and less than 5 percent did so in 1965. An interesting pattern of changing behavior from amendment to final bill is the one displayed by southern Democrats since 1965.