Political Talk Over Here, Over There, Over Time 1
Data from Great Britain and the United States from the late 1950s to the early 1990s show relatively little change in the frequency with which citizens engage in political discussions, with whom they are likely to speak, and the variables that shape their propensity to engage in political talk. In addition, analyses of the data show that discussing politics enhances citizens' knowledge of public affairs, even net of other variables known to affect political knowledge. Students of political behaviour and those interested in strengthening democracy need to treat political discussions as an important form of political participation.
1 The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions received from the Journal's editor, Albert Weale, Patrick Seyd and several anonymous reviewers. An earlier version of this article was presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Vancouver, 1996.