Macrointerest

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2020-06-01
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Miller, Joanne
Saunders, Kyle
McClurg, Scott
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Peterson, David
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Political Science
The Department of Political Science has been a separate department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (formerly the College of Sciences and Humanities) since 1969 and offers an undergraduate degree (B.A.) in political science, a graduate degree (M.A.) in political science, a joint J.D./M.A. degree with Drake University, an interdisciplinary degree in cyber security, and a graduate Certificate of Public Management (CPM). In addition, it provides an array of service courses for students in other majors and other colleges to satisfy general education requirements in the area of the social sciences.
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An interested and engaged electorate is widely believed to be an indicator of democratic health. As such, the aggregate level of political interest of an electorate – macrointerest – is an essential commodity in a democracy, and understanding the forces that change macrointerest is important for diagnosing the health of a democracy. Because being interested in politics requires time and effort, the article theorizes that the electorate’s level of political interest will be highest when the electorate believes the government cannot be trusted or is performing poorly. To test hypotheses derived from a proposed theory against rival explanations, the study develops a measure of macrointerest using a quarterly time series of aggregated survey items (1973–2014) of political interest. The authors find support for the theory that the electorate responds as reasonable agents when determining how closely to monitor elected officials: interest is positively related to decreases in trust in government.

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This article is published as Peterson, D.A.M., Miller, J.M., Saunders, K.L., McClurg, S.D., Macrointerest. British Journal of Political Science (2020);1-21. doi:10.1017/S0007123420000356.

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Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2020
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