This comprehensive introduction to politics provides an essential template for assessing the health and workings of present day democracy by exploring how democratic processes bring public policy into line with popular preferences. Incorporating the latest findings from Big Data across the world, it provides a crucial framework showing students how to deploy these for themselves, providing straightforward, practical orientation to the scope and methods of modern political science.

Key features:

  • Everyday politics is explained through concrete applications to democracies across the world;
  • Predictive theories illuminate what goes on at various levels of democracy;
  • Outlines - in easy to understand terms - the basic statistical approaches that enable empirically-informed analysis;
  • Rich textual features include chapter summaries, reviews, key points, illustrative briefings, key concepts, project and essay suggestions, relevant reading all clearly explained in ‘How to Use This Book’;
  • Provides a firm basis for institutional and normative approaches to democratic politics;
  • Concluding section reviews other approaches to explaining politics, assessing their strengths and weaknesses.

Politics is an essential resource for students of political science and of key interest to economics, public policy analysis and more broadly the social sciences.

chapter Chapter 1|7 pages


Politics and policy – what do we want to explain and how?

part Part I|132 pages


chapter Chapter 2|10 pages

Why politics? Making policies to provide public goods

chapter Chapter 3|18 pages

How popular preferences develop

chapter Chapter 4|17 pages

Measuring electoral preferences

chapter Chapter 5|13 pages

Electors’ policy thinking

From a joined-up left-right perspective to issue-by-issue reactions

chapter Chapter 6|33 pages

Party policy thinking

Framing policy targets and election-based estimates of majority preferences

chapter Chapter 7|28 pages

Matching public policy to popular preferences

chapter Chapter 8|9 pages

The ‘web of explanation’

Relating process theories to each other within a general political science context

part Part II|42 pages


chapter Chapter 9|21 pages

Majority choice of policies

Voting paradoxes and attempted solutions

chapter Chapter 10|19 pages

General elections and election systems

Finalizing the collective choice of policies

part Part III|105 pages


chapter Chapter 11|20 pages

Citizens, parties and governments

Interactive preference formation

chapter Chapter 12|32 pages

Political parties

Ideological policy carriers

chapter Chapter 13|21 pages


Prime participants in policymaking

chapter Chapter 14|30 pages


Separating out policy areas

part Part IV|29 pages


chapter Chapter 15|27 pages

Globalization and world democracy

part Part V|114 pages


chapter Chapter 16|32 pages

Generating ‘Big Data’

Sources, procedures, error checks

chapter Chapter 17|20 pages

Simplifying ‘Big Data’

Dimensions, majorities and the (missing?) middle

chapter Chapter 18|32 pages

Managing ‘Big Data’

Theoretical explanation and statistical analysis

chapter Chapter 19|19 pages

Developing political science by explaining democracy