Why Do Incumbents Get Reelected Even Though Their Approval Ratings Are So Low?
Key Terms:Incumbent: The person currently holding an office.Open Seat: A Congressional election in which there is no incumbent. Safe Seat: A Congressional district that is certain to vote for the candidate of one party.
Advantages of IncumbencyThe Service Strategy (Casework) Congressional StafPork Barrel SpendingFranking PrivilegeCampaign Fundraising (PAC money)Name RecognitionGerrymandering
The Service Strategy
Staf Allowances•In the House, the Members' Representational Allowance (MRA) ranges from $1,207,510 to $1,383,709, with an average of $1,268,520.•Most of each member's annual MRA allowance is used to pay their office personnel. In 2016, the office personnel allowance for each member was $944,671. Each member is allowed to use their MRA to employ up to 18 full time, permanent employees. •In the Senate, the Senators' Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA) ranges from $3,043,454 to $4,815,203. The average allowance is $3,306,570. •All Senators receive the same amount for the legislative assistance allowance. The size of the administrative and clerical assistance allowance and the office expense allowance vary based on the population of the state the senators represents, the distance between Washington, D.C.
Pork Barrel Spending•Pork Barrel: Legislation that allows representatives to bring