Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Elliott, John


In this paper, I first construct a definition for the concept of a ‰ÛÏwave election,‰Û a term that is often used imprecisely. I define wave elections using criteria that rely on decade-specific electoral volatility and the potential national impact of an election and then show that wave elections are fundamentally different from ‰ÛÏnormal‰Û congressional elections in the way they benefit a particular party. Next, I investigate the various factors that cause wave elections through the use of statistical analysis. I find that the incidence of waves can be accurately forecasted based on a combination of structural factors and a retrospective evaluation of the political status quo. Finally, I consider the greater implications of wave elections for political change and find that wave elections do not significantly contribute to policymaking.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 171-178)

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