It’s an interesting point - in real life you couldn’t be sure what effect a decision/policy would have until it had been implemented - or indeed until quite some time after it had been implemented. In the game, it’s only through repeated playing (something you can’t do in real life) they you find out what the effects are.
An idea for Democracy 3 would be have have effects more randomised - some you couldn’t be sure, even if you’d played it before, what the effect would be. For example, introducing community policing could turn out to be a disaster that made no real difference, or could turn out to be a roaring success. Obviously there would have to be some degree of consistency, otherwise the game would become complete luck, but it should be less predictable than at present.
Indeed, much of politics is very uncertain, yet in the game its always presented in a very certain way. You know exactly what the effects of a particular policy or change of policy will be, exactly how parents are feeling, exactly the impact that last event just had. I think that this needs to be made a lot more fuzzy - sort of a “fog of war”. You would gauge public opinion through opinion polls, which would ineviably have a margin of error in them. The results of policies would only become clear over time, and even then would be a little bit uncertain. This would need a bit of a rethink - instead of bar charts that show exact figures, there woud have to be a way of showing much more uncertain information.
But if you think about it, is makes sense - for example, it is a matter of controversy in this country (the UK) what effect community policing is having. The Government argue that it is having a major effect in making people feel safer and reducing anti-social behavior, whereas others think that it is a gigantic waste of money that is having no effect whatsoever. You can’t say for definite which is true - probably somewhere in the middle. Indeed, it may be a good idea to have an element where you can make claims about what effect it is having - you might say “we believe that community policing is having a major effect on cutting crime”, and it would be up to the people to choose whether to believe you. This could link in with cynicism - when you implemented a policy, you would say what effect you thought it would have. If you were wrong, cynicism would increase, and the more cynical the public, the less they would believe your claims.
I think that something along these lines could be a major improvement in the next version, and there are a number of connected things that it could lead to, including spin.