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+ - Statistical analysis of US politics: bedtime for democracy 2

Submitted by erikkemperman
erikkemperman writes: Opinion pieces at BBC and the New Yorker, among many others, have discussed recent statistical analysis by Princeton and NorthWestern profs, leading them to report:

"In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it."

The authors conclude that:

"Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."

I was not aware of this kind of statistical methods to exploring how politics functions in practice. So rather than just finding out just how obvious you think their results are, I would ask: Does their approach seem sensible? Has similar analysis been done for other nations?

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