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By Steven L. Taylor

4 unique students in political technological know-how examine American democracy from a comparative perspective, exploring how the U.S. political process differs from that of thirty different democracies and what these changes finally suggest for democratic functionality. This crucial textual content techniques the subsequent associations from a political engineering viewpoint: constitutions, electoral platforms, and political events, in addition to legislative, govt, and judicial strength. The textual content appears to be like at democracies from all over the world over a two-decade timeframe. the result's not just a clean view of the much-discussed topic of yankee exceptionalism but in addition an cutting edge method of comparative politics that treats the U.S. as yet one case between many. an excellent textbook for either American and comparative politics courses.

Steven L. Taylor is professor and chair of political technological know-how, Troy collage. Matthew S. Shugart is professor of political technological know-how, collage of California, Davis. Arend Lijphart is examine professor emeritus of political technological know-how, college of California, San Diego. Bernard Grofman is professor of political technological know-how, collage of California, Irvine.

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Extra resources for A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective

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Take a scenario based on Lippmann’s conception of stereotypes. Someone who has an idiot for a neighbor or who watched Jackass the Movie may discount poll results when they hear them, reckoning that people are idiots. Leaving aside issues that we will discuss in chapter 6, this person is extrapolating from a sample of one to every American. In reality, a poll with a thousand respondents is far more diverse than any one person—diverse enough, in fact, to represent the whole country. So although there may be idiots in the sample, the likelihood of it being a sample of idiots is nearly nonexistent—unless you believe that everyone in the United States is an idiot.

Even less support reaches polling. This discontinuity strikes me as odd. Early political philosophers, such as our Founding Fathers, usually talked about public opinion and democracy in the same breath. More to the point, initial assaults on public opinion invariably attacked democracy as well. Yet in the face of near universal support for democracy, the con side in the debate over polling’s value lingers. Let us clarify polling’s rationale by talking about four alternative ways to measure public opinion.

Why? He won. The faulty headline traces to a polling error. Although Gallup used random sampling, he based his prediction on results from the wrong time. Specifically, he quit polling two weeks before the election, presumably when Dewey was still winning. Gallup was mortified on election day; the lesson is that the timing of polls (and other factors we will discuss) may influence results. A similar error occurred in the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary. The Sunday before the election nine polls indicated that Barack Obama would not only win, but win by 10 percentage points.

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