Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
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.
Smith, Jacob, "The Politics of Congressional Wave Elections" (2012). Honors Theses. 79.