Parallel lines? Policy mood in a plurinational democracy

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We usually think of democratic accountability in national terms – if the people do not approve of a government, they can replace it. However, in a plurinational democracy it is not obvious that such a single national public exists. We consider this problem in the case of Scotland, providing the first application of the macro-polity approach to a plurinational democracy. We provide a systematic study of how public opinion in Scotland changes over time compared to that in the rest of Great Britain, using recently developed Bayesian IRT scaling techniques, and ask whether Scottish and British public opinion move in parallel. To the extent that there is a separate Scottish public opinion with a separate party system, this forces us to rethink the way that democracy and accountability work in plurinational political systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalElectoral Studies
Early online date12 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • plurinational democracy
  • democratic accountability
  • Scotland
  • public opinion


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