Rochelle Snyder

Position title: Ph.D. Candidate: American Politics


Website | CV

Research Interests

U.S. Congress, Representation, Political Behavior, Public Opinion, Elections


Rochelle Snyder is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in American politics. Her research interests include constituent service and constituent-legislator contact, representation, political behavior, public opinion, and elections. She is an affiliate of the Elections Research Center. She graduated summa cum laude from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania with a BA in political science.


“Constitutive Voices: Constituent Service and Representation in the United States Congress”

Rochelle’s dissertation addresses the role that constituent service—the process of seeking assistance from legislators—plays in connecting constituents and their representatives in Congress. Theoretically, the project centers constituents’ experiences in the process of constituent service, and empirically, it uses original and existing survey data, archival data, a survey experiment, and data from legislators’ floor speeches to study the various ways in which constituent-initiated contact with legislators affects representation. Constituents prefer to seek help from legislators who share their partisanship, and they go out of their way to explain their deservingness of representation to their legislators. Legislators respond by highlighting correspondence from “deserving” constituencies in their floor speeches, but they primarily use this correspondence to support partisan talking points. Thus, while asking legislators for help serves an important expressive function for constituents, partisanship and perceptions of deservingness have the potential to undermine the representational role of constituent service.

Recent Publications

“Explaining Uncontested Seats in Congress and State Legislatures.” With Barry C. Burden. American Politics Research 49 (no. 3), 2021, 247-258.

Courses Taught as Instructor of Record

PS 311: U.S. Congress (fall 2023)

PS 401: Representation in American Politics (spring 2023)

PS 270: Understanding Political Numbers (spring 2021)


Leon Epstein Prize in American and British Politics

University Housing Honored Instructor Award


Hear from Rochelle on this episode of the 1050 Bascom Podcast!