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adverse selection
the concept, borrowed from economic theory, that voters cannot fully educate themselves on everything they must vote on and that this information asymmetry can often benefit the candidate or issue group that controls the distribution of information
agricultural groups
economic interest groups that work on behalf of agricultural interests
ballot initiative
a mechanism by which voters can directly introduce pieces of legislation and vote to enact them
business group
an economic interest group that works on behalf of business interests
candidate-centered campaign
the idea that the declining influence of political parties and their decreased ability to mobilize voters’ opinions and actions has set voters politically adrift and that candidates themselves have stepped in to fill the power vacuum
civil rights groups
noneconomic interest groups that work to promote and defend the civil rights of a particular group
collective goods
goods or services that all members of a group can share
congressional district method
a method of allocating electoral votes, used in Maine and Nebraska, where the winner of each congressional district is awarded one electoral vote and the winner of the statewide vote is awarded the state’s two remaining electoral votes
dark money
money received by super PACs from shell corporations or donors who do not disclose their identities
direct democracy
a democratic system in which citizens make direct policy choices rather than leaving them to elected officials
disturbance theory
a political theory that suggests that interest groups form in response to the changing complexity of government and society
economic bias
a system in which interests that may be very narrow or seemingly obscure enjoy considerable influence the more socially, monetarily, or institutionally resourced they are
economic groups
interest groups that focus on economic issues such as wages, industry protections, job creation, and profit maximization
Election Day holiday
where voting day is a national holiday or voters vote on a weekend
formal group decision-making processes that elect individuals to public office or, in certain states and countries, allow citizens to select among policy preferences
Electoral College
the system of electors, based on the total number of United States Senators, House members, and electors from Washington, DC, by which the president of the United States is chosen
electoral districts
in the United States, districts of roughly equal population size in which Americans vote
eligible voters
those United States citizens who are aged 18 and older and meet state residency requirements and rules for voting
when groups of individuals work collectively to promote a narrow, shared interest, possibly at the expense of the majority
free rider problem
the phenomenon that occurs when individual members of an interest group benefit from the group’s activities even if they do not personally participate
golden parachutes
exit bonuses that reward executives leaving private companies upon entering federal government positions
grassroots lobbying
lobbying that involves groups utilizing public pressure to force governmental action; also called outside lobbying or indirect lobbying
ideological group
a noneconomic interest group that focuses on promoting interests that align with a particular ideology
indirect lobbying
lobbying that involves groups utilizing public pressure to force governmental action; also called outside lobbying or grassroots lobbying
inside lobbying
lobbying in which interest groups cultivate contacts and relationships within government in order to seek to influence a political outcome
interest group
a group of people who organize in order to seek to influence a political outcome
interest group liberalism
the theory that officials respond to well-organized groups not because they are good for society, but because well-organized interests simply do a better job of demanding governmental action
labor groups
economic interest groups that work on behalf of workers’ interests
the attempt by a group to influence a political outcome
majority rule
a system in which candidates for statewide office must win at least 50 percent of the vote to win an election
moral hazard
the risk a voter takes that a chosen candidate may not, once elected, act in the way the voter hopes
multiparty system
a system of government where multiple political parties take part in national elections
noneconomic groups
interest groups that work to advance noneconomic issues such as the environment or education
outside lobbying
lobbying that rallies public support in order to pressure political actors to consider a cause; also known as indirect or grassroots lobbying
the act of hiring or using state resources in a partisan manner in order to reward political support
pluralist theory
a political theory that posits that multiple and diverse interests compete for attention and resources and that political power is distributed among these various interests
plurality rule
an election system in which the candidate with the most votes wins an election
political action committee (PAC)
an interest group’s official fundraising arm
political parties
groups that organize around a shared political ideology, with the primary goal of electing party members to positions in government
the appeal on the part of public leaders to the belief of ordinary people that established elite groups disregard their concerns
professional groups
economic interest groups that work in the interests of a particular profession
proportional representation
an electoral system in which votes cast by the electorate are reflected by the same proportions within the governing body
public interest group
a group that benefits a narrow constituency or policy issue (such as the American Association of Retired People) and works to achieve benefits for the larger population, not just for their own members
an election in which voters decide whether or not to end the term of an elected official
an election in which voters decide whether to overturn existing law or policy
registered voters
voters who have fulfilled the necessary requirements set by the government in order to be able to cast a vote
single-issue groups
groups that focus their work on a single issue in order to acquire or maintain benefits for their members (for example, the National Rifle Association)
single-party system
an electoral system where one party makes up the government
snap election
in Britain, an election the prime minister can call at any time
social capital
relationships forged in political and other social networks, resulting from citizen mobilization, that help citizens resolve collective problems
super PACs
independent political action committees that can raise unlimited funds in order to campaign for candidates but are barred from directly coordinating with either candidates or parties
transaction theory
a political theory, espoused by Robert H. Salisbury, that argues that political actors are not influenced by groups that have mobilized to enact change so much as they are responding to the interests of narrowly focused elites, and that the relationship between interest groups and government is that of an exchange
two-party system
an electoral system where two main parties control power in government
vote of no confidence
a way for a legislative body to indicate that they no longer support the leader of the government (such as a prime minister) and their cabinet
voter fatigue
a phenomenon in which the demands of multiple elections leave voters feeling apathetic or disengaged
voter registration requirements
a set of conditions voters must meet and be able to prove in order to be eligible to vote
voter suppression
a strategy or in some instances local laws that work to prohibit certain groups from voting
voter turnout
the number of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election
voting eligible population (VEP)
the population that is eligible to vote, regardless of registration status, not including persons that are not eligible to vote, such as noncitizens and, in certain US states, convicted felons
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