Lee W. Payne

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My research builds on an important aspect of democratic theory -- that voters have legitimate choices in who governs. This tenet of democratic theory is represented in the theory of party responsibility. Specifically, if parties are responsible, they will have clear policy platforms and offer distinct choices to the voters. Pomper (1967) and Pomper and Lederman (1980) conducted important platform research (1944-1976) that my research replicates forward (1980-2008). Party platforms from 1980 through 2008 were coded by Pomper standards to determine whether party platforms are rational documents that offer voters real choices. Several methodologies were employed to determine whether parties are responsible -- frequencies, percentages, pledge weights, and attention indexes. The results are encouraging in that the parties offer voters differing and rational platforms to choose from.

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