Statehouse Democracy

Public Opinion and Policy in the American States

Robert S. Erikson,

Statehouse Democracy: Public Opinion and Policy in the American States
 
 
The importance of public opinion in the determination of public policy is the subject of considerable debate. Whether discussion centres on local, state or national affairs, the influence of the opinions of ordinary citizens is often assumed yet rarely demonstrated. Other factors such as interest group lobbying, party politics and developmental, or environmental, constraints have been thought to have the greater influence over policy decisions. Professors Erikson, Wright and McIver make the argument that state policies are highly responsive to public opinion, and they show how the institutions of state politics work to achieve this high level of responsiveness. They analyse state policies from the 1930s to the present, drawing from, and contributing to, major lines of research on American politics. Their conclusions are applied to central questions of democratic theory and affirm the robust character of the state institution.


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