Can Learning Constituency Opinion Affect How Legislators Vote? Results from a Field Experiment

@article{Butler2011CanLC,
  title={Can Learning Constituency Opinion Affect How Legislators Vote? Results from a Field Experiment},
  author={Daniel M. Butler and David W. Nickerson},
  journal={Quarterly Journal of Political Science},
  year={2011},
  volume={6},
  pages={55-83}
}
When legislators are uninformed about public opinion, does learning constituents' opinion affect how legislators vote? We conducted a fully randomized field experiment to answer this question. We surveyed 10,690 New Mexicans about the Governor's spending proposals for a special summer session held in the summer of 2008. District-specific survey results were then shared with a randomly selected half of the legislature. The legislators receiving their district-specific survey results were much… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

When Do Legislators Follow Constituent Opinion? Evidence from Matched Roll Call and Referendum Votes

This paper tests theories of representation by studying laws that were challenged by referendum. For these laws, we can compare legislator roll call votes and citizen votes on the same law. In a

How Public Opinion Information Changes Politicians’ Opinions and Behavior

Numerous representation studies suggest that political elites are responsive to the expressed preferences of their voters, but scholars in the field have called for experimental research on the topic

Are Legislators More Responsive to Public Opinion on Salient Issues

Are legislators more responsive to public opinion on salient issues? A large literature indicates that the answer is yes. Due to insufficient district-level sample sizes, however, past studies have

Representation When Constituent Opinion and District Conditions Collide

When constituent opinion and district conditions point in two different directions, which factor is most influential for representatives who face important legislative roll calls? To address this

What Politicians Believe About Their Constituents: Asymmetric Misperceptions and Prospects for Constituency Control

Conceptions of democratic governance emphasize the role of public opinion in shaping public policy. We explore a central but dimly understood process by which public opinion affects policy:

When Do Politicians Pursue More Policy Information?

Abstract We conducted a field experiment with 334 Canadian Members of Parliament exploring whether politicians seek out more information about an issue when they are farther offside the average

Do Republican and Democratic legislators have polarized views of their district’s demographics? 1

Do Republican and Democratic politicians hold the same perceptions about the demographic composition of their district? We test this question by asking state legislators about the size of five key

Call Your Legislator: A Field Experimental Study of the Impact of Citizen Contacts on Legislative Voting

Does contacting one’s legislator influence public policy? We answer this question with a field experiment in which Michigan state legislators are randomly assigned to be contacted by their

Does Public Opinion Affect the Preferences of Foreign Policy Leaders? Experimental Evidence from the UK Parliament

Scholars continue to debate whether public opinion in democracies influences the foreign policy preferences of their leaders. We intervene into this literature through a survey experiment in which we

Explaining Explanations: How Legislators Explain their Policy Positions and How Citizens React

Legislators claim that how they explain their votes matters as much as or more than the roll calls themselves. However, few studies have systematically examined legislators’ explanations and citizen
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 43 REFERENCES

From Tea Leaves to Opinion Polls: A Theory of Democratic Leadership

Do politicians lead public life or follow it? Does the nature of representative democracy dictate that those in power respond to popular sentiment? And if public opinion is central to political

Balancing constituency representation and party responsiveness in the US Senate: the conditioning effect of state ideological heterogeneity

Spatial proximity theories of representation focus on the importance of the average views of constituencies in guiding legislators’ decisions. However, legislative scholars also identify political

Constituency Opinion and Congressional Policy Making: The Reagan Defense Buildup

Rrepresentatives' votes on a series of defense budget roll calls in the first year of the Reagan administration's Pentagon buildup are related to constituency opinions on defense spending during the

The logic of congressional action

Congress regularly enacts laws that benefit particular groups or localities while imposing costs on everyone else. Sometimes, however, Congress breaks free of such parochial concerns and enacts bills

The Influence of Party: Evidence from the State Legislatures

American legislative studies in recent years have been occupied to a large degree with the question of the effects of political parties on the policy behavior of elected legislators, with most of the

Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness

Public opinion polls are everywhere. Journalists report their results without hesitation, and political activists of all kinds spend millions of dollars on them, fuelling the widespread assumption

Representativeness and Elections: A Policy Analysis

  • J. Kuklinski
  • Political Science
    American Political Science Review
  • 1978
This paper looks at representativeness in terms of policy dimensions. As previous studies also have demonstrated, the analysis provides evidence that the level of policy agreement varies across

Has Polling Enhanced Representation? Unearthing Evidence from the Literary Digest Issue Polls

  • David Karol
  • Political Science
    Studies in American Political Development
  • 2007
How has representation changed over time in the United States? Has responsiveness to public opinion waxed or waned among elected officials? What are the causes of such trends as we observe? Scholars

Patterns of Representation: Dynamics of Public Preferences and Policy

Much research shows that politicians represent public preferences in public policy. Although we know that there is representation, we do not understand the nature of the relationship in different

Special Interest Politics

This landmark theoretical book is about the mechanisms by which special interest groups affect policy in modern democracies. Defining a special interest group as any organization that takes action on