―Paul Freedman, University of Virginia.
first-rate examination of one of the discipline's most fundamental concerns. -Martin Gilens, Perspectives on Politics. ―Paul Freedman, University of Virginia.
Though Hutchings is not the first political scientist to contend that the American public is more politically engaged .
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May 2018 · JCMS Journal of Common Market Studies. This article explains how this occurs. It relies on evidence from two aid programmes in Uganda, one targeted at poverty reduction and one at democratic governance. I argue that the stated objective of aid programmes masks a deeper cause; individual aid.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 155-164) and index.
Political Process Books. General Political Process Books.
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Professor Hutchings' general interests include public opinion, elections .
Professor Hutchings' general interests include public opinion, elections, voting behavior, and African American politics.
-Paul Freedman, University of Virginia.
Much of public opinion research over the past several decades suggests that the American voters are woefully uninformed about politics and thus unable to fulfill their democratic obligations. Arguing that this perception is faulty, Vincent Hutchings shows that, under the right political conditions, voters are surprisingly well informed on the issues that they care about and use their knowledge to hold politicians accountable.
Though Hutchings is not the first political scientist to contend that the American public is more politically engaged than it is often given credit for, previous scholarship--which has typically examined individual and environmental factors in isolation--has produced only limited evidence of an attentive electorate. Analyzing broad survey data as well as the content of numerous Senate and gubernatorial campaigns involving such issues as race, labor, abortion, and defense, Hutchings demonstrates that voters are politically engaged when politicians and the media discuss the issues that the voters perceive as important. Hutchings finds that the media--while far from ideal--do provide the populace with information regarding the responsiveness of elected representatives and that groups of voters do monitor this information when "their" issues receive attention. Thus, while the electorate may be generally uninformed about and uninterested in public policy, a complex interaction of individual motivation, group identification, and political circumstance leads citizens concerned about particular issues to obtain knowledge about their political leaders and use that information at the ballot box.