Public policy is necessary because it defines the governance and democracy of a nation. The article Do Campaigns Help Voters Learn? A Cross-National Analysis by Kevin Arceneaux presents clear arguments towards our understanding of the existing relationship between public opinion and public policy. The author presents several studies done in the US to determine how campaigns influence electoral decisions and experiences. This has been carried across the nation to come up with accurate and appropriate data about public opinions. Voting is one of the ways through which public opinions are wisely utilized to determine the acceptable public policies.
With sufficient studies and examples, the author argues that the outcome of an election is capable of reflecting the economic performance of that particular nation. Arceneaux (2005), notes that campaigns are useful tools which help the voters to come up with informed decisions about the relevance of the political system to the economy. The article also relies on individual-level study across several European countries to show how campaigns play a major role in influencing the voting decisions of the voter (Arceneaux, 2005). Campaigns play a big role in enlightening the public and making sure the final decisions have positive impacts on the political foundations and public policies. According to studies conducted in the 1940s and 1950s, it was concluded that campaigns help the voter to make up his/her mind. This increases the overall information to the voter concerning the political status and public policy to be developed.
Some few months before the actual election, it is notable that the average voter may be having no - or very little - sense of how the fundamental variables relate the vote preference. As the campaign progresses, public opinion changes as the voters continue to get informed about the possible public policies which will govern their nation. The author of this article represents accurate analysis and contrast of public opinion and policy to the reader (Arceneaux, 2005). Another important issue discussed here is political sophistication and how it influences public opinions. According to the studies presented in the article, individuals will more likely link the economic status to their preference whenever the election is very close.
Another important discussion in the article is how learning increases during the campaigning time. According to the study, voters have better chances of learning more things about public policies when there is a longer campaign period. The study therefore proves that political campaigns should play a great role in helping the citizen make an informed and enlightened decision before the election (Arceneaux, 2005). Also, the author explains to the reader how the effects of campaigns are conditioned by institutional and individual characteristics. According to this article, most of the policies suggested by political parties influence the opinion of the public. It is therefore necessary for the voter to analyze the ideologies and economic performance of the country before the final decision is made. The opinion of the public is therefore necessary because it determines the public policy.
The article has also explains how campaigns will influence the final voting decisions. The main strength of the article is that it has adequately presented sufficient examples and studies which explain how campaigns help the voters learn. For instance, when the economic outcomes appear unclear and unpredictable, it is the duty of the voter to make sure he learns the same over the campaign period. All the findings in the article present sufficient implications for more research (Arceneaux, 2005). The relationship between public policy and public opinion is a model which captures much of what everyone expects in a properly functioning democracy. This means that the preferences of the public are represented in policy. Simply put, the opinion of the public will have an effect or impact on the public policy as we can note from the article. What the public wants is what is used to come up with the policies which govern the people (Arceneaux, 2005). Although the article might not have given these facts clearly, public policies are developed from the public opinions from political campaigns and voting processes.
When voting is done, the public decides the kind of policies which shall govern them. For example, the public decides when more expenditure on education or health is needed. When less spending on the same is expected, it is the same public opinion which should be used as an index. When the public wants more or less spending, it is the role of the governments to provide the same. Therefore representation depends entirely on the response of the public. It is the duty of the public to monitor whatever the government is engaged in and react to it accordingly (Arceneaux, 2005).
From the article, we note that public responsiveness is vital towards representative democracy of any particular nation. This provides a mechanism through which public policy and public opinion are regularly and reliably connected (Arceneaux, 2005). On one hand there has to be public representation which considers and adopts the preferences of the people. Although the article gives a discussion on campaigns, the reader understands how the public preferences have to be informed and by so doing be able to react to the public policy in a democratic society.
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