The Effects of Congruence in Policy Priorities on Satisfaction with Democracy.

Reher, Stefanie (2016). “The Effects of Congruence in Policy Priorities on Satisfaction with Democracy.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 26(1): 40-57. 

There is widespread agreement that better policy representation increases citizens’ satisfaction with democracy. Previous research on this topic has generally focused on ideological congruence between citizens and representatives. In this article, it is argued that public–elite agreement on policy priorities is another essential aspect of policy representation, but has been largely overlooked in this context. Citizens whose issue concerns are higher on elites’ agendas should be more satisfied with the functioning of democracy. This hypothesis is tested by linking voter survey data to candidate survey and news media content data from the 2009 German Longitudinal Election Study. The results show that citizens whose issue concerns are salient amongst party candidates and in the media campaign coverage are indeed more satisfied with democracy in their country. This effect exists not only for congruence with the party for which individuals voted, but also for agreement with the other parties.

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