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      Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness

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      American Political Science Review

      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          We study the effects of policy-specific public opinion on state adoption of policies affecting gays and lesbians, and the factors that condition this relationship. Using national surveys and advances in opinion estimation, we create new estimates of state-level support for eight policies, including civil unions and nondiscrimination laws. We differentiate between responsiveness to opinion and congruence with opinion majorities. We find a high degree of responsiveness, controlling for interest group pressure and the ideology of voters and elected officials. Policy salience strongly increases the influence of policy-specific opinion (directly and relative to general voter ideology). There is, however, a surprising amount of noncongruence—for some policies, even clear supermajority support seems insufficient for adoption. When noncongruent, policy tends to be more conservative than desired by voters; that is, there is little progay policy bias. We find little to no evidence that state political institutions affect policy responsiveness or congruence.

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          Most cited references 10

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          The Impact of Public Opinion on Public Policy: A Review and an Agenda

           Paul Burstein (2016)
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            Measuring State Legislative Professionalism: The Squire Index Revisited

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              Gun Behind the Door? Ballot Initiatives, State Policies and Public Opinion

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                American Political Science Review
                Am Polit Sci Rev
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0003-0554
                1537-5943
                August 2009
                August 2009
                : 103
                : 03
                : 367-386
                Article
                10.1017/S0003055409990050
                © 2009

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