Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


It was V. O. Key Jr. who stated, "Unless mass views have some place in the shaping of policy, all the talk about democracy is nonsense" (Glynn, 1999). According to most scholars "the responsiveness of government policy to citizens' preferences is a central concern in .. .democratic theory"(Page, 1982). This opinion summarizes the motivation behind the vast amount of political science research that has been conducted in an attempt to explore the relationship between public opinion and government action. Since the late 1960s, public opinion on environmental issues has been monitored with varying degrees of attention (Dunlap 1991), and this topic has traditionally been included in those studies examining government accountability (Monroe 1998). Due to the global nature of environmental issues, public opinion and government action in this area needs active monitoring. My hypothesis is that levels of government activity on environmental issues will correlate with changing levels of public opinion support for environmental protection.