Or at least, that's the question being asked in a recent study and NYT op-ed both by political scientists Joshua Kalla and Ethan Porter.
But is that actually true? Andrew Gelman investigates...
I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t see a coherent story here yet. This is not meant as a criticism of Kalla and Porter, who must have a much better sense of the literature than I do, but rather to indicate a difficulty in how we think about the links between public opinion and legislator behavior. I don’t think it’s quite that “Politicians Don’t Actually Care What Voters Want”; it’s more that politicians don’t always have a good sense of what voters want, politicians aren’t always sure what they would do with that information if they had it, and whatever voters think they want is itself inherently unstable and does not always exist independent of framing.