Congress invokes public opinion on welfare reform

Catherine Paden, Benjamin I. Page

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


If democratically elected public officials respond to the policy preferences of ordinary citizens, one might expect them to make frequent, favorable references to public opinion as revealed by polls and surveys. An analysis of the 1995 congressional debates leading up to the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (welfare reform), however, generally corroborates the findings of Cook, Barabas, and Page concerning policy elites' discussions of Social Security. Congresspersons' references to public opinion were quite infrequent and vague. In some cases, they were significantly misleading. The implications of these findings are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-679
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Block grants
  • Child care
  • Congressional debates
  • Family cap
  • Food stamp benefits
  • Public opinion
  • Time limits
  • Welfare reform
  • Work requirements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Congress invokes public opinion on welfare reform'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this