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Facing the Challenge of DemocracyExplorations in the Analysis of Public Opinion and Political Participation$
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Paul M. Sniderman and Benjamin Highton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151106

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151106.001.0001

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Facing the Challenge of Democracy

Facing the Challenge of Democracy

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Facing the Challenge of Democracy
Source:
Facing the Challenge of Democracy
Author(s):

Paul M. Sniderman

Benjamin Highton

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691151106.003.0001

This introductory chapter is about citizen competence in political participation. In politics, the prevailing opinion is that citizens fail minimally challenging tests of knowledge of public affairs and institutions. And in the face of such skepticism are counterarguments opposing this judgment of the average citizen's capacity for political participation. The chapter argues that such differences both amount to the same thing—the capacity of citizens to make politically coherent choices. To gain a better perspective on the situation, the chapter argues, one must first attempt to understand as deeply as possible the properties of political preferences of ordinary citizens. In this vein, the chapter tackles a number of issues related to this topic, and provides an overview of the following chapters.

Keywords:   citizen competence, politics, politically coherent choices, democracy, ordinary citizens, political participation, political preferences

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