Opinion and Policy Beyond the Democratic West: The Case of Iran
44 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 20 Aug 2009
Date Written: 2009
Studies of public opinion as it relates to government policy focus on two areas of inquiry: The beliefs determining public support or opposition to a given policy and, related, the effect of public policy preferences on the policymaking of the state. Without exception, these studies have been confined to democratic states; in fact, scholars of the opinion-policy nexus view their work through the lens of democratic theory. I argue that the findings of this body of work possesses broader applicability than generally assumed, beyond democratic and Western contexts. Using 2006 public opinion data from Iran, I find striking continuity between the Iranian case and similar studies conducted in democratic contexts, suggesting greater generalizability for this body of research as well as a window into the opaque world of autocratic domestic politics.
Keywords: Iran, public opinion, hierarchical model
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