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American Party Platforms and Public Opinion

Alan D. Monroe
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Feb., 1983), pp. 27-42
DOI: 10.2307/2111051
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111051
Page Count: 16
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American Party Platforms and Public Opinion
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Abstract

The party responsibility, spatial, and cleavage theories make different assumptions about the relationship of party issue stands to the distribution of public opinion. This study matched promises in Republican and Democratic platforms from 1960 through 1980 with public opinion data from national surveys and then determined the outcomes of policy decisions on those issues. Both parties tended to adopt positions favored by a majority of the public. Parties tended to go against popular majorities on issues of greatest concern to their established constituencies. Therefore, the greatest support was found for the cleavage theory as an explanation of party decision making. The data also suggest that parties are indeed an important link between public opinion and public policy.

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