Direct Democracy in the United States

Shaun Bowler and Todd Donovan

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Direct Democracy in the United States

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This article provides an argument that other questions arise from the study of voting on ballot propositions that relate to the variety of voter preferences, how voter opinions are formed, and how voters think about democratic institutions. Although voting on some proposals may well be quite difficult and voting on many proposals may well tax the patience of most voters, it is all too easy to overstate the difficulties voters have in understanding what is going on with a given proposition. The study of ballot propositions can advance the study of voting behavior, especially in the areas of framing effects, the dynamics of choice, and questions about how voters reason and about how democratic institutions and processes should function. Each of these points is discussed in turn. It is shown that there is a complex relationship between mass preferences, institutions, and policy.

Keywords: direct democracy; United States; voting; ballot propositions; voter; democratic institutions; framing; mass preferences

Article.  8891 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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