The dynamics of political attention: public opinion and The Queen’s Speech in the United Kingdom

Jennings, Will and John, Peter (2009) The dynamics of political attention: public opinion and The Queen’s Speech in the United Kingdom American Journal of Political Science, 53, (4), pp. 838-854. (doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00404.x).


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This article represents the effect of public opinion on government attention in the form of an error-correction model where public opinion and policymaking attention coexist in a long-run equilibrium state that is subject to short-run corrections. The coexistence of policy-opinion responsiveness and punctuations in political attention is attributed to differences in theoretical conceptions of negative and positive feedback, differences in the use of time series and distributional methods, and differences in empirical responsiveness of government to public attention relative to responsiveness to public preferences. This analysis considers time-series data for the United Kingdom over the period between 1960 and 2001 on the content of the executive and legislative agenda presented at the start of each parliamentary session in the Queen's Speech coded according to the policy content framework of the U.S. Policy Agendas Project and a reconstituted public opinion dataset on Gallup's “most important problem” question. The results show short-run responsiveness of government attention to public opinion for macroeconomics, health, and labor and employment topics and long-run responsiveness for macroeconomics, health, labor and employment, education, law and order, housing, and defense.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00404.x
ISSNs: 0092-5853 (print)
Organisations: Politics & International Relations
ePrint ID: 336585
Date :
Date Event
18 September 2009e-pub ahead of print
October 2009Published
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2012 09:21
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 17:21
Further Information:Google Scholar

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