chapter  5
34 Pages

Perspectives of the 104th GOP Freshmen: An Overview

In the spring of 1997, all of the offices of the fifty-nine 104th GOP House freshmen surviving into the 105th Congress were contacted by mail and by phone, and invited to participate in a ten-question dissertation research survey on the 104th class. Offices that hesitated to participate were encouraged to do so by in-person visits during the period that interviews were being conducted in March and May. In the end, forty-seven of the fifty-nine offices completed the survey instrument. This 80 percent participation rate is very satisfying, and reduces concerns about the representativeness of the sample. (See Appendix B.) Further gratifying is the fact that in most cases the survey was completed by the chief of staff or legislative director, not a middle-ranked assistant. Sometimes a member of Congress wanted to complete the form personally. Generally, the survey was dropped off at the interview appointment, and picked it up during the next of

couple days. Some of the surveys were returned by mail, and all were completed during the spring and early summer of 1997.