- Preferences for political decision-making processes and issue publics
- Public Opinion Quarterly
- Volume | Issue number
- 78 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Research on public attitudes toward political decision-making has typically focused on politics in general. This study attends to issue-level as well as individual-level factors that can explain political process preferences. First, drawing on the classic distinction between easy and hard political issues, this study differentiates between preferences for participatory versus representative processes as related to politics, abortion, immigration, and the economy. Second, this study considers citizens as pluralistic issue publics, testing whether personal investment in an issue is related to process preferences and whether issue importance or attitude extremity better structure issue publics in this context. Relying on representative survey data from Spain (N = 2,450), the results show first that process preferences are issue specific: respondents favor more citizen voice for abortion, a symbolic "easy" issue, and more representative processes for the "harder" economic policies. Second, attitude extremity more strongly influences preferences for direct citizen engagement than attitude importance. This study offers comparative evidence on citizens’ preferences for political decision-making, and its theoretical, practical, and methodological implications are discussed.
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