public policy

The link between public opinion and public policy

Early theorists in modern political science had high hopes for using new survey techniques to analyze the individual-level psychological and behavorial processes which constitute modern liberal democracy. Berelson (1952), for instance, noted that democratic theory assumes that citizens meet certain requirements related to tolerance, patience, interest, knowledge, and the will to participate. See also the famous book Voting (Berelson, Lazarsfeld, and McPhee 1954). But early research in political behavior was bleak.