V. O. Key, Jr., an American political scientist, played a central role in the behavioral movement within American political science, that is, the study not of how the political system is supposed to function, but of how politicians, civil servants, and voters actually behave. His pioneering text, Politics, Parties, and Pressure Groups (1942), discusses the interest groups that contend for power, the roles of the party system and the electorate, the use of force and violence, the uses of pecuniary sanctions, and the role of education as a form of political control. His Southern Politics (1949) is based on both the analysis of local election returns and interviews with politicians and observers; in subsequent books, he pioneered in the use of survey research data in the study of politics. As both teacher and government consultant, he was noted for his unpretentiousness and concern for students and colleagues.
The Responsible Electorate: Rationality in Presidential Voting 1936-1960