Substantive representation

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Under representative democracy, substantive representation (in contrast to descriptive representation) is the tendency of elected legislators to advocate on behalf of certain groups.

Conflicting theories and beliefs exist regarding why constituents vote for representatives. "Rather than choosing candidates on the basis of an informed view of the incumbents' voting records, voters, it is argued, rely primarily on the policy-free 'symbols' of party identification (Stokes and Miller, 1962). Politicians, it would seem, have little to fear from a public that knows little about what laws their representatives support or oppose in the legislature."[1]