A defi ning feature of liberal democracies is the claim that their institutions transfer public concerns and demands into political action. Political science, consequently, has long pursued the study of public opinion (Madison, Federalist #10, 39, and 51; Watson 1848; Lippmann 1922; Poole 1936; Abig 1939; Key 1961). The discipline has investigated the empirical issue of linkages between mass preferences and governmental decisions as well as the normative question of what role opinion should play in shaping policy outcomes (Key 1961; Dahl 1971; Johnston 1986; Page and Shapiro 1992; Burstein 2003; Wlezien and Soroka 2007).