Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Arnold, Christine and Franklin, Mark N. 2012. Introduction: Issue Congruence and Political Responsiveness. West European Politics, Vol. 35, Issue. 6, p. 1217.


Thermostatic Voting: Presidential Elections in Light of New Policy Data

  • Jørgen Bølstad (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2012

Existing studies imply a model of “thermostatic voting”—a phenomenon characterized by negative feedback from government policy to election outcomes, suggesting that a party's success in setting policy diminishes its electoral prospects. This phenomenon could give politicians an incentive to constrain the fulfillment of public demands, which would conflict with the notion of electoral accountability, which also forms part of the theoretical framework in question. This article addresses this paradox and provides new data that expand an existing time series of American policy liberalism. Employing the new data, the article identifies thermostatic voting in American presidential elections, but in light of the analysis, certain empirical features are also identified that reduce the possible incentive to withhold promised policy changes.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Samuel J. Best 1999. “The Sampling Problem in Measuring Policy Mood: An Alternative Solution.” Journal of Politics 61 (3): 721–40.

Suzanna De Boef , and James A. Stimson . 1995. “The Dynamic Structure of Congressional Elections.” Journal of Politics 57 (3): 630–48.

Mark N. Franklin , and Christopher Wlezien . 1997. “The Responsive Public: Issue Salience, Policy Change, and Preferences for European Integration.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 9 (3): 347–63.

James A. Stimson 1999a. “Party Government and Responsiveness.” In Democracy, Accountability, and Representation, ed. A. Przeworski , S. C. Stokes , and B. Manin . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Herbert F. Weisberg 2002. “Partisanship and Incumbency in Presidential Elections.” Political Behavior 24 (4): 339–60.

Christopher Wlezien . 1995. “The Public as Thermostat: Dynamics of Preferences for Spending.” American Journal of Political Science 39 (4): 9811000.

Christopher Wlezien . 2004. “Patterns of Representation: Dynamics of Public Preferences and Policy.” Journal of Politics 66 (1): 124.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *