So, the two chambers of the US Congress are different. How about that?
In contrast to the vote in the House of Representatives on the ‘rescue’ package earlier in the week, in the Senate those Republicans in the more competitive races were somewhat more likely to vote for the package.
Of course, any focus on the institutional differences between the chambers1 has to acknowledge that these were not actually the same bills. And that there was more information from the stock market about just how some folks felt about the defeat in the House.
Nonetheless, what is striking about the inter-cameral comparison is that in the House, the most vulnerable members regardless of party2 were much more likely to vote against the bill.
Overall, in the House, of course, Democrats were much more likely to vote for the bill than were Republicans (though neither party put on an impressive display of unity).
The upshot is that the House “vulnerables” tended to vote less with the party that has the greatest wind at its back as we head into the election.3 In the Senate it was the reverse, albeit less significantly so.
Essentially, Senators in both parties and regardless of vulnerability were more likely to vote for the bill (which passed 74â€“25). The institutional explanation would point to Senators’ more diverse constituencies making them more insulated from apparent public opposition (even a month before an election!). Yet the tendency of vulnerable Representatives to vote against the majority position of the party riding higher in the polls remains puzzling (to me; maybe readers have a hypothesis, “institutional” or otherwise).