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Statehouse Democracy
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Book description

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.


"… thoughtfully written volume … [The authors] have marshaled an impressive mass of data to prove their hypothesis that at the state level 'public opinion is of major importance for the determination of state policy' … This is a solid analysis of public opinion and public policies in the state. An excellent piece of research."

"… a work that anyone interested in differences across the states should read carefully … this book makes some very significant contributions to our study of state politics. The authors are to be commended for undertaking this project, for the range of data they have assembled, and for contributing to our understanding of state differences … this is one of the better written books to appear lately. The writing is clear, concise and communicates very well. Graphs are used well. It is a model of clarity of presentation and writing."
Jeff Stonecash, American Political Science Review

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