Public Opinion and Public Policy

Stuart N. Soroka and Christopher Wlezien

in The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Politics

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195335354
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Public Opinion and Public Policy

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The key function of representative democracy is to provide a mechanism through which public opinion and public policy are regularly connected. On one hand, there should be policy representation; public preferences for policy should be reflected in policy itself. And on the other hand, there should be public responsiveness; public preferences should be informed and should react to public policy. Policy representation is important in everyday politics. Failure of adequate policy representation may result on disaffection of the public for the government. This article discusses the evidence of representation of public preferences in the Canadian federal policy. It discusses the substance of the preferences and determines whether these preferences adjust to the policy itself. The article also discusses thermostatic public responsiveness, whereby public preferences for policy change reflect changes in policy.

Keywords: representative democracy; public opinion; public policy; policy representation; public preferences; policy; public responsiveness; politics; representation; Canadian federal policy

Article.  8036 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Behaviour

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