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From the Publisher"A richly thorough examination of the American public's policy preferences over the past half century and of how those preferences informed the vote. An important contribution."
-George E. Marcus, Williams College
"Claggett and Shafer's The American Public Mind is an outstanding contribution to understanding postwar American politics. Carefully, systematically, and comprehensively, they show that substantive policy conflicts lie at the core of contemporary American politics. In so doing they restore the role of policy to any convincing interpretation of American politics and simultaneously demonstrate that the policy preferences of ordinary citizens deserve a prominent place in any such interpretation."
-Edward Carmines, Indiana University
"No summary comment can do justice to the depth of this analysis of American public opinion and politics. In scope, encompassing half a century of politics, and in scientific scrupulousness, spotlighting gaps and uncertainties in the results of its empirical analyses as faithfully as its striking results, it is unmatched. Above all, it gives a view of three dramatic clashes - over social welfare, the Cold War, and cultural values - that have defined the political fortunes of American parties and politicians."
-Paul Sniderman, Stanford University
"This book is a sustained search for exactly what its title says, the American public mind. That public mind is found in coherent, strong, and stable sets of beliefs about political issues. Ignoring the chaff of year to year changes in salience and the constant coming and going of measures in the American National Election Studies, Claggett and Shafer search for - and find - what is permanent in how the public organizes its thoughts about politics. The result is a brief for issue voting, not as the occasional addition to forces generated by such factors candidate personality or party loyalties, but as the fundamental story of how American politics works. This is a picture, often a complicated picture, of Americans thinking about policy controversies and then acting on their thoughts."
-James Stimson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
"An important book. Claggett's and Shafer's careful research vindicates V.O. Key, Jr.'s epigram that voters are not fools. Americans have real, well-structured policy preferences that play a big part in elections."
-Benjamin I. Page, Northwestern University
"This part of the book (Part I) will certainly become a classic citation for scholars interested in measuring mass preferences: no other book has ever tackled this difficult measurement question with so much care and attention."
-Matthew S. Levendusky, Political Science Quarterly