The most important influence on how members of Congress vote is not their constituents, but their party. This makes them out-of-step not only with the average American — the “broad-based public opinion” that Obama mentioned — but also, and ironically, with even their base. Members are more partisan than even voters in their party.
From my newest post at Wonkblog. The subject is a reoccurring concern about gerrymandering—that it inhibits compromise by putting members in lopsidedly partisan districts. This concern not only exaggerates gerrymandering’s role in reducing the competitiveness of House elections, in fomenting partisan polarization, etc. This concern also conceals what is really a more fundamental problem of representation in our polarized politics. See the post for more, featuring the research of Simon Jackman, Nolan McCarty, Boris Shor, Joseph Bafumi, and Michael Herron.