Decision-makers need to be able to judge how voters will react to a policy. It is important for their continued electoral success, and for the success of the policy. Yet, write Chris Butler and Barbara Vis, systematic biases often lead policymakers to misjudge voters’ reactions to their policy decisions
Chris’ main research interests lies in how political elites conceive of, and respond to public opinion. He is particularly interested in how political actors form their opinions of likely electoral reactions and how these are affected by cognitive biases.
Chris’ PhD thesis used 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 government's NHS reforms. His research has been published in British Politics and European Political Science. Chris is also a contributing author to the ‘Nuffield Series’ book on the 2019 UK General Election and is a regular contributor to comments pieces on UK politics.
He is currently exploring how political parties in the UK have used public opinion research to inform their decision-making.