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Citizen Politics

Citizen Politics
Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies

Seventh Edition

January 2019 | 360 pages | CQ Press
“The book’s combined focus on parties as institutions and systems, alongside political attitudes and behaviors, is why I use it…I have yet to find another text that accomplishes this.”
  —Meredith Conroy, California State University, San Bernardino

Now, more than ever, people drive the democratic process. What people think of their government and its leaders, how (or whether) they vote, and what they do or say about a host of political issues greatly affect the further strengthening or erosion of democracy and democratic ideals. This fully updated, shorter Seventh Edition of Citizen Politics continues to offer the only truly comparative study of political attitudes and behavior in the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany.
In addition to its comprehensive, thematic examination of political values, political activity, voting, and public images of government within a cross-national context, the updated edition of this bestseller explores how cultural issues, populism, Trump and far right parties are reshaping politics in contemporary democracies. All chapters have been updated with the latest research and empirical evidence. Further, Dalton includes recent research on citizens’ political behavior in USA, Britain, France, and Germany, as well as new evidence from national election studies in USA 2016, Britain 2017, France 2017, and Germany 2017. 

List of Tables and Figures
CHAPTER 1. Introduction
Comparing Public Opinion across Nations

Choosing Nations to Compare

A New Style of Citizen Politics

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 2. The Nature of Citizen Beliefs
The Supercitizen

Reality versus a Theoretical Ideal

Elitist Theory of Democracy

Political Sophistication Reconsidered

Politics and the Public

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 3. How We Participate
Modes of Participation


Campaign Activity

Direct Contacting

Communal Activity

Protest and Contentious Action

Wired Activism

Changing Publics and Political Participation

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 4. Who Participates?
The Civic Voluntarism Model

Who Votes?

Campaign Activity

Direct Contacting

Communal Activity

Who Protests?

Internet Activism

Comparing the Correlates of Different Activities

Participation and the Democratic Process

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 5. Values in Change
The Nature of Value Change

The Distribution of Values

How Values Change

The Consequences of Value Change

Social Change and Value Change

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 6. Issues and Ideological Orientations
Socioeconomic Issues and the State

Cultural Issues

Foreign Policy Opinions

Left/Right Orientations

Public Opinion and Political Change

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 7. Elections and Political Parties
The History of Party Systems

Four Contemporary Party Systems

The Structure of Political Alignments

Party Systems Today

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 8. The Social Bases of Party Support
The Logic of Social Groups and Voting

Social Class and the Vote

Why Is Class Voting Decreasing?

Religion and the Vote

Other Social Group Differences

The Transformation of Social Cleavages

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 9. Partisanship and Voting
A Sociopsychological Model of Voting

Partisan Attitudes

The Consequences of Partisanship

Partisan Dealignment

Causes of Dealignment

The Consequences of Dealignment

Cognitive Mobilization and Apartisans

Politics in a Dealigned Era

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 10. Attitudes and Voting Choice
Principles of Issue Voting

Position Issues and the Vote

Policy Cleavages and the Vote

Performance Issues and the Vote

Candidate Images and the Vote

The End of the Causal Funnel

One Electorate or Many?

Citizen Politics and Voting Behavior

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 11. Political Representation
Collective Correspondence

Dyadic Correspondence

The Party Government Model

The Impact of Representation

Suggested Readings


CHAPTER 12. Citizens and the Democratic Process
The Types of Political Support

Declining Confidence in Authorities

Views of Political Institutions

Support for a Democratic Regime

Community Support

Dissatisfied Democrats

The New Style of Democratic Politics

Suggested Readings


Appendix A: Statistical Primer
Appendix B: Major Data Sources
Appendix C: 2014 International Social Survey Codebook


Instructor Resources Site

Use the Instructor Resources Site to get the most out of your course!

Our Instructor Resources Site offers a range of additional features, including the following:

  • The 2014 International Social Survey Codebook (Appendix C of the textbook) 
  • Four data files for the Statistical Package in the Social Sciences (SPSS). The data files include data for the four core nations discussed in the book: The United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany.

“The book’s combined focus on parties as institutions and systems, alongside political attitudes and behaviors, is why I use it…I have yet to find another text that accomplishes this.”

Meredith Conroy
California State University, San Bernardino

“[Citizen Politics] has a clear writing style with interesting, relevant comparisons across the four democracies covered in the book.”

James Adams
University of California, Davis
Key features


  • New discussions around populism examine of how cultural issues, populism, and far right parties are reshaping voters’ and parties’ political positions. 
  • Updates on trends in trust in government and politicians discuss whether the 2008 Great Recession has reversed the patterns of social modernization, political participation, and value change.
  • A restructured chapter on the nature of belief systems integrates research insights from cognitive psychology.
  • More attention to current academic debates encourage students to think critically about the decline of participation, the erosion of political support, and the implications for democracy. 
  • Description of new forms of political activity help students to stay up-to-date on participant trends, such as internet-based activism and new forms of political consumerism.
  • Revision of all the chapters to present the latest research and empirical evidence, including new evidence from the 2016 U.S. elections, the 2017 British election, the 2017 German election, and the 2017 French election.
  • A revised statistical primer (appendix A) shows students how to interpret tables and figures. In addition, it serves as a reference guide for using correlation statistics to understand the relationship between two traits, such as summarizing educational differences in voting turnout.
  • A new data supplement based on the 2014 International Social Survey offers instructors the ability to assign computer-based research projects on public opinion that can enrich a course for students and provide a first hand opportunity to understand the process of public opinion research. These data are used throughout the book, and a free subset of survey questions is available for class use. 



  • This book remains the only true comparative study of political participation, behavior, and elections in the U.S., Germany, France, and Great Britain, highlighting what is unique and common.
  • An exploration of competing political theories offers students a rich array of genuinely comparative data and encourages students to undertake further analyses on their own.
  • Nearly 100 tables and figures provide students with a wealth of current data on elections, public opinion, political values, and more. 
  • Useful appendices offer students resources such as a statistical primer, a list of major data sources, and an accompanying codebook— empowering students to conduct research create opinion surveys. 

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

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