Process Preferences and British Public Opinion: Citizens' Judgements about Government in an Era of Anti-politics

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Abstract

This article explores British citizens' evaluations of political processes against the backdrop of wider political disengagement. It adapts Hibbing and Theiss-Morse's framework for measuring attitudes in both ‘process space’ and ‘policy space’ and, drawing on data from a survey fielded in March 2011, analyses the factors that shape Britons' preferences concerning political decision making. It also analyses the relative importance of policy and process evaluations as predictors of government approval and support for two key civic norms, that people should comply with the law and that they have a duty to vote. It finds that most respondents think that decision making should involve both elected politicians and ordinary people, but respondents who are more critical of politicians' conduct tend to express support for greater levels of popular involvement. It also finds that the significance of process evaluations is overshadowed by other attitudes, especially respondents' perceptions of politicians' integrity and responsiveness.

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