Mandate Politics

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Whether or not voters consciously use their votes to send messages about their preferences for public policy, the Washington community sometimes comes to believe that it has heard such a message. In this 2006 book the authors ask 'What then happens?' They focus on these perceived mandates - where they come from and how they alter the behaviors of members of Congress, the media, and voters. These events are rare. Only three elections in post-war America (1964, 1980 and 1994) were declared mandates by the media consensus. These declarations, however, had a profound if ephemeral impact on members of Congress. They altered the fundamental gridlock that prevents Congress from adopting major policy changes. The responses by members of Congress to these three elections are responsible for many of the defining policies of this era. Despite their infrequency, then, mandates are important to the face of public policy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This volume is thoroughly researched and methodologically creative, and it develops an interesting theory of political change. It should be of particular interest to congressional scholars and students of US electoral politics. Highly recommended."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107407138
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/13/2012
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

James A. Stimson is Raymond Dawson Distinguished Bicentennial Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1970. He previously taught at SUNY-Buffalo, Florida State, and the Universities of Houston, Iowa, and Minnesota. Stimson is former President of the Midwest Political Science Association and Treasurer of the American Political Science Association. He has authored or co-authored five books, Yeas and Nays: Normal Decision-Making in the U.S. House of Representatives (with Donald R. Matthews), Issue Evolution: Race and the Reconstruction of American Politics (With Edward G. Carmines), Public Opinion in America: Moods, Cycles, and Swings, and The Macro Polity (with Robert S. Erikson and Michael B MacKuen), and Tides of Consent: How Public Opinion Shapes American Politics (Cambridge, 2004). He has won the Heinz Eulau and Gladys Kammerer Awards of the American Political Science Association, the Chastain Award of the Southern Political Science Association, the Pi Sigma Alpha award of the Midwest Political Science Association. Former editor of Political Analysis, he has served on the editorial boards of American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Methodology, Public Opinion Quarterly, and American Politics Quarterly and authored articles in all the major journals of political science.

David A. M. Peterson is an assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2000. He has previously published in American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, and other journals. He was winner of the 2002 Patrick J. Fett Award from the Midwest Political Science Association for the best paper on Congress and the Presidency.

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Table of Contents

1. A single time in a single place; 2. The evolution of mandates; 3. Members of congress respond; 4. The pattern of congressional response; 5. Consequences; 6. The irresistible meets the unmovable; 7. Normal American politics.

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