Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level



Political Science


Brinck Kerr, III

Committee Member

Robert Savage

Second Committee Member

Todd Shields


United States Senate, Reelection moderation, Economic policy, Social policy, Foreign policy


This thesis investigates reelection moderation in the U.S. Senate on economic, social, and foreign policy between 1983 and 1994. I test 3 hypotheses based on the assumption that senators moderate their voting records when seeking reelection to appeal to the median voter. My hypotheses are: (1) Both groups of senators will moderate on economic policy, but a larger percentage of Democrats will moderate than Republicans (2) A majority of Democratic senators will moderate on social policy, but only a small percentage of Republicans will moderate. (3) Less than a majority of both groups of senators will moderate on foreign policy, but a larger percentage of Republicans will moderate than Democrats The percentages of moderating and non-moderating senators are compared to determine the extent of senatorial moderation. Democrats are moderating on economic and social policy. On foreign policy, the first two classes remain consistent over their six year terms, while the last two classes moderate. Republican voting records remain consistent in all 3 policy areas. These results provide the strongest support for the second hypothesis, with mixed evidence for the other two.