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Public Approval ofU.S. State Legislatures

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Abstract

The determinants of public approval for state legislatures have not received much attention, but one important finding is that more professionalized legislatures experience lower levels of public support. We argue that this result is an artifact of limited data and problematic model specifications. Analyzing a large national survey sample, we demonstrate that the negative relationship holds primarily for conservatives and to a lesser extent for moderates but not liberals. Additionally, we find that legislative approval in states with term limits and ballot initiatives is no different than in states without these institutions.

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