RWAP: Jake Grumbach
Political scientists often characterize state and local governments as marginal and highly constrained in policymaking. This project, however, suggests that in recent decades state governments have moved from the margins to the center of partisan battles over the direction of U.S. public policy. I use novel measures of policy outcomes, public opinion, and campaign contributions across many issue areas to suggest that state policy is increasingly varied and predicted by party control of government, but mostly independent of dynamics in public opinion. If public opinion is not driving the resurgence of state policy, who is? I argue that policy has responded to investments by policy demanders, and I find evidence that primary election campaign contributions from issue activists and organizations are associated with shifts in state policy.