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Pathologies of Studying Public Opinion, Political Communication, and Democratic Responsiveness (WP-13-21)

James Druckman

The research literature on democratic representation and on public opinion formation have largely ignored one another. Once one considers the reality of the political communication environment, a fundamental tension between these two literatures emerges. In this essay, Druckman reviews work on each, highlighting problems with how “quality opinion” is often defined and with how representation is typically studied, and then offers a way forward.

James Druckman, Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science, Assistant Director, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

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