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Citizen Politics

Citizen Politics
Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies

Seventh Edition
Additional resources:

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. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 12: Citizens and the Democratic Process

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