Politics PhD candidate studying how UK governments respond to public opinion. My research tests theories of democratic representation on evidence from the UK, and assesses the applicability of theories of democratic represenation given public opinion/ policy dynamics and the limitations of human decision-making. Are there patterns to the circumstances under which UK governments are more likely to respond to public opinion by prioritising popular policy solutions? What other factors override electoral considerations in decision-making? Are UK governments able to rationally anticipate the electoral reaction to their policies?
I am currently using a mixed-methods approach; combining quantitative analysis of UK governments' responsiveness to public opinion with qualitative analysis of a handful of case study policy decisions including the Liberal Democrats u-turn on tuition fees and the coalition governments' NHS reforms. I have presented initial findings from my research to the Democracy and Elections research cluster at the University of Manchester.