What is the Overton Window?

The Overton Window – the title of Glenn Beck’s new political thriller novel – is a concept of political theory developed by a scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Joseph Overton.

From Mackinac:

Joseph Overton observed that when public policies in a given area, such as education, are arranged from freest to least free, only a relatively narrow window of options will be considered politically acceptable.

This window of politically acceptable policies is not defined primarily by what politicians would prefer; rather, it is defined by what they believe they can support and still win re-election. Hence, the window shifts to include new policies or exclude old ones not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them.

As Connecticut’s only free market, limited government think tank, the Yankee Institute for Public Policy plays a critical role in the public policy discussion at the state level.  We research Connecticut’s public policy questions and develop solutions that address these issues while limiting the role of the government and promoting the free market.

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