Lawrence R. Jacobs Ph.D.

Professor and Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies
Director, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance
University of Minnesota
Email: Discipline: Political Science Expertise: Politics and Policymaking

Investigator Award
Democracy, Leadership and Health Care
Award Year: 1993 Dr. Jacobs develops a theoretical framework for conceptualizing the relationship between national policymakers and public opinion in relation to the debate over health care reform. He investigates the relationship between public opinion, media coverage, and the decisions of Congress and the Clinton administration. Questions about what type of opinion-policy relationship should exist in a democracy are addressed, including whether policy leaders, in designing current health policy, are responding to public opinion or directing it. The project also explores: mass media coverage of health care; media's influence on the issues that people identify as important; the policy directions they favor; and the accuracy of the media's interpretations of public opinion polls. Extensive analysis of polling data, President Clinton's policy statements, Congressional records, media coverage, and interviews with key policymakers is undertaken. Robert Y. Shapiro, Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, collaborates.


Lawrence R. Jacobs is a professor and Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies and Director, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1990. His areas of interest include presidential and legislative politics, elections and voting behavior, public opinion and polling, American political history, Midwestern swing states, third party politics, and Social Security and health care policy. Dr. Jacobs' most recent books are Inequality and American Democracy (with Theda Skocpol, Russell Sage Press, 2005), Healthy, Wealth, and Fair (with James Morone, Oxford University Press, 2005), and Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness (with Robert Y. Shapiro, University of Chicago Press, 2000). He also authored The Health of Nations: Public Opinion and the Making of Health Policy in the U.S. and Britain (Cornell University Press, 1993) as well as several edited volumes and numerous articles in the American Political Science Review, World Politics, Comparative Politics, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and other scholarly outlets. Dr. Jacobs' research has been published and discussed in a number of mass media outlets. He has made regular presentations at the National Press Club and is a political analyst for the CBS affiliate in Minnesota, WCCO. His research has been recognized by a number of prizes. His book Politicians Don't Pander received the Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard University's Shorenstein Center for Press and Politics, the Neustadt Book Prize from the American Political Science Association, and the Distinguished Book Prize in political sociology from the American Sociological Association. In addition, his articles have received awards from the American Political Science Association and International Communications Association. He chaired the Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy, which was convened by the American Political Science Association.