Political Preferences and Public Policy

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Social scientists who study elections tend to assume that voters have public policy preferences and that parties and candidates design their platforms to conform with those preferences. In fact, the direction of causation (mostly) goes the other way. Members of the political elite draw up their platforms, and voters adopt the policy preferences of those candidates and parties.

Public policy issues are numerous and often complex, with compelling arguments on all sides. Meanwhile, citizens and voters, as individuals, have no influence over public policy outcomes, so they have little incentive to become informed.
Voters know that their one individual vote will have

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