on voter competence

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On Voter Competence

Author : Paul Goren
ISBN : 9780195396140
Genre : Medical
File Size : 60. 62 MB
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Argues with the standard interpretation of the American voter as incompetent in matters of policy.

Follow The Leader

Author : Gabriel S. Lenz
ISBN : 9780226472157
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 46. 69 MB
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In a democracy, we generally assume that voters know the policies they prefer and elect like-minded officials who are responsible for carrying them out. We also assume that voters consider candidates' competence, honesty, and other performance-related traits. But does this actually happen? Do voters consider candidates’ policy positions when deciding for whom to vote? And how do politicians’ performances in office factor into the voting decision? In Follow the Leader?, Gabriel S. Lenz sheds light on these central questions of democratic thought. Lenz looks at citizens’ views of candidates both before and after periods of political upheaval, including campaigns, wars, natural disasters, and episodes of economic boom and bust. Noting important shifts in voters’ knowledge and preferences as a result of these events, he finds that, while citizens do assess politicians based on their performance, their policy positions actually matter much less. Even when a policy issue becomes highly prominent, voters rarely shift their votes to the politician whose position best agrees with their own. In fact, Lenz shows, the reverse often takes place: citizens first pick a politician and then adopt that politician’s policy views. In other words, they follow the leader. Based on data drawn from multiple countries, Follow the Leader? is the most definitive treatment to date of when and why policy and performance matter at the voting booth, and it will break new ground in the debates about democracy.

The Reasoning Voter

Author : Samuel L. Popkin
ISBN : 0226675459
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 76. 18 MB
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The Reasoning Voter is an insider's look at campaigns, candidates, media, and voters that convincingly argues that voters make informed logical choices. Samuel L. Popkin analyzes three primary campaigns—Carter in 1976; Bush and Reagan in 1980; and Hart, Mondale, and Jackson in 1984—to arrive at a new model of the way voters sort through commercials and sound bites to choose a candidate. Drawing on insights from economics and cognitive psychology, he convincingly demonstrates that, as trivial as campaigns often appear, they provide voters with a surprising amount of information on a candidate's views and skills. For all their shortcomings, campaigns do matter. "If you're preparing to run a presidential campaign, and only have time to read one book, make sure to read Sam Popkin's The Reasoning Voter. If you have time to read two books, read The Reasoning Voter twice."—James Carville, Senior Stategist, Clinton/Gore '92 "A fresh and subtle analysis of voter behavior."—Thomas Byrne Edsall, New York Review of Books "Professor Popkin has brought V.O. Key's contention that voters are rational into the media age. This book is a useful rebuttal to the cynical view that politics is a wholly contrived business, in which unscrupulous operatives manipulate the emotions of distrustful but gullible citizens. The reality, he shows, is both more complex and more hopeful than that."—David S. Broder, The Washington Post

For The Many Or The Few

Author : John G. Matsusaka
ISBN : 9780226510873
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 45. 84 MB
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Direct democracy is alive and well in the United States. Citizens are increasingly using initiatives and referendums to take the law into their own hands, overriding their elected officials to set tax, expenditure, and social policies. John G. Matsusaka's For the Many or the Few provides the first even-handed and historically based treatment of the subject. Drawing upon a century of evidence, Matsusaka argues against the popular belief that initiative measures are influenced by wealthy special interest groups that neglect the majority view. Examining demographic, political, and opinion data, he demonstrates how the initiative process brings about systematic changes in tax and expenditure policies of state and local governments that are generally supported by the citizens. He concludes that, by and large, direct democracy in the form of the initiative process works for the benefit of the many rather than the few. An unprecedented, comprehensive look at the historical, empirical, and theoretical components of how initiatives function within our representative democracy to increase political competition while avoiding the tyranny of the majority, For the Many or the Few is a most timely and definitive work.

Referendum Democracy

Author : M. Mendelsohn
ISBN : 9781403900968
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 73. 99 MB
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As the referendum becomes a more regular component of decision making, it leaves few, if any, institutions, processes and values of democracy untouched. Political actors of all kinds - including political parties and interest groups - seek to use the referendum device to further their own objectives. The end result is a different kind of democracy than existed before. This book lays out the comparative research agenda on the impact of referendums on the practice of liberal democracy.

Citizen Competence And Democratic Institutions

Author : Stephen L. Elkin
ISBN : 0271042435
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 54. 8 MB
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Democracy For Realists

Author : Christopher H. Achen
ISBN : 9781400882731
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 73. 64 MB
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Democracy for Realists assails the romantic folk-theory at the heart of contemporary thinking about democratic politics and government, and offers a provocative alternative view grounded in the actual human nature of democratic citizens. Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. They demonstrate that voters—even those who are well informed and politically engaged—mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. They also show that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties. When parties are roughly evenly matched, elections often turn on irrelevant or misleading considerations such as economic spurts or downturns beyond the incumbents' control; the outcomes are essentially random. Thus, voters do not control the course of public policy, even indirectly. Achen and Bartels argue that democratic theory needs to be founded on identity groups and political parties, not on the preferences of individual voters. Democracy for Realists provides a powerful challenge to conventional thinking, pointing the way toward a fundamentally different understanding of the realities and potential of democratic government.

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