Home » » A Validation and Extension of State-Level Public Policy Mood: 1956–2020
To fully understand state policy outcomes or elections in the US, we need valid over-time measures of state-level public opinion. We contribute to the research on measuring state public opinion in two ways. First, we respond to Berry, Fording, Hanson, and Crofoot’s (BFHC) critique of Enns and Koch’s measure of state policy mood. We show that when BFHC’s analysis is performed using the same states and examining annual change, it validates the Enns and Koch measure and raises questions about the Berry, Ringquist, Fording, and Hanson measure. Second, we generate a new measure of state policy mood building on Enns and Koch’s approach. The new measure has even better properties than the previous measure and relates to state presidential vote and state policy liberalism in similar ways to Caughey and Warshaw’s measure of state economic liberalism. We conclude with recommendations for using the various direct measures of state public opinion.