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Chapter 8&9

Chapter 8&9

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Chapter 8&9

  1. 1. Public OpinionCHAPTER 8
  2. 2. THE FORMATION OF PUBLIC OPINION
  3. 3. Public opinion: attitudes held by specific groups and people on political matters. It’s even more readily defined as the complex collection of the opinions of many different people. It is never a single or undivided view on a subject. WHAT IS PUBLIC OPINION?
  4. 4. Public: the group who hold their opinion on a controversial subject. There are more publics than anyone would care to count in the U.S. These groups usually have conflicting views with one another, and engage in many arguments and debates to support their own views. DIFFERENT PUBLICS AND DEFINITION
  5. 5.  People are not born with their views. All the views that any one person holds are instilled in them at a young age and are enforced for most of their life.  Two of the biggest and most important influences on a persons beliefs are families and the education system. FAMILY AND EDUCATION
  6. 6. Children latch onto what their parents say to them The schools teach them what they need to know. Most kids use these two to set up their opinions in life. FAMILY AND EDUCATION
  7. 7.  Mass Media are means of communication that reach wide, dispersed audiences.  This one thing has the single greatest effect on public opinion.  Television, radio and printed materials are the largest forms of Media, and every single home in America uses at least one of them. MASS MEDIA
  8. 8.  Peer groups: the people whom one associates with most often, usually meaning coworkers, friends and family.  Peer Groups are as influential to a person’s own views as much as the Media or any other source of Public Opinion. PEER GROUPS
  9. 9.  Opinion Leaders are the head figure in their form of Public Opinion. These figureheads are usually the driving force behind the media and the peer groups they control.  Opinion leaders can be anyone from Frank at the water cooler at work to the President of the U.S. OPINION LEADERS
  10. 10.  History has a big influence on Public Opinion because no one wants the past to repeat itself.  Many media sources point to the past to show what could happen in our current time. Some opinion leaders use the past as the basis of many of their arguments. HISTORIC EVENT
  11. 11.  The most common forms of tabulating public opinion are voting, lobbying, books, pamphlets, magazine and newspaper articles, talk shows on radio and TV, and editorials.  Most of these can be eschewed and changed around by the interest groups, but these are usually reliable and trustworthy sources. MEASURING PUBLIC OPINION
  12. 12. ELECTIONS  In Democracy, the elections and votes of the people are used to voice their opinions.  Most political candidates use the voting numbers as their claimed mandate for their elections.  In reality, polls and elections are usually not very accurate because there is such a small range of choices offered on ballots.
  13. 13.  Interest groups are usually large corporations that use their power and reach to influence almost all of politics.  They use their representatives and other forms of influence to exert their power over the government and political candidates. Some people say that the government is actually just run by corporations, and Interest groups are all the proof they need. INTEREST GROUPS
  14. 14.  Polls are considered to be the only really accurate gauge of public opinion to use in democracy.  The earlier forms of polls were somewhat inaccurate and were easily faked and changed.  Today, scientific polls are more common and are usually far more accurate than their predecessors. POLLS
  15. 15.  Scientific Polling is a very complex process involving 5 steps:  Defining the Universe (target population)  Constructing a sample (a representative of the population)  Preparing valid questions (intelligent queries)  Interviewing (questioning the population)  Analyze and report findings (finishing the poll). POLLING PLACES
  16. 16.  Polls are usually considered more reliable because they come straight from the population.  The only problem that can come from polls are the pollsters (the poll readers) shaping the outcome of the poll itself. EVALUATING THE POLLS
  17. 17. The media is a form of communication Although media does not have a part in government, it’s influence cannot be understated in political races and arguments/debates. ROLE OF MASS MEDIA
  18. 18.  Television may be the single greatest driving force between public and government connection.  News shows on TV are almost all based on political activity, and TV is the easiest form of news and world activity that the world turns to. It only makes sense that the government would use TV to it’s advantage. TELEVISION
  19. 19.  Newspapers and Magazines used to be the single largest influential force on peoples views, but has now been forced to take the backseat under the weight of the Internet and TV.  Internet and TV are the most influential source  Some magazines, such as Time and Newsweek, are still heavily read, but newspapers are slowly starting to fade into the past with the advent of technology. NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
  20. 20.  The public agenda is the list of societal and governmental problems that politicians agree all need tending and fixing.  The media has the power to get our population to focus on these things and to increase the publics awareness of certain global or domestic problems that need the attention of the government. THE MEDIA AND POLITICS: THE POLITICAL AGENDA
  21. 21. Even with the media’s far reaching influence, over half of the people who vote have no real understanding of their candidates intention or plans. PROBLEMS:
  22. 22. Some simply vote with the more popular candidate, and some people simply rely on looks and actions. LIMITS ON MEDIA INFLUENCE
  23. 23. TV has become the biggest battle ground for candidates, but these political groups spend too much time blasting each other and not enough time properly presenting their platforms. LIMITS ON MEDIA INFLUENCE
  24. 24. Interest GroupsCHAPTER 9
  25. 25.  Interest groups are sometimes called “pressure groups” and often “special interests” or “organized interests.  They give themselves a variety of labels: leagues, clubs, federations, unions, committees, associations, etc. .  Every interest group seeks to influence the making and content of public policy. THE ROLE OF INTEREST GROUPS
  26. 26.  Because interest groups exist to shape public policy, they operate wherever those policies are made or can be influenced. They also function at every level of government.  Public policy includes all of the goals that a government pursues in the many areas of human affairs in which it is involved-everything from seat belts, speed limits, and zoning to flood control, old-age pensions, and the use of military force in international affairs. THE ROLE OF INTEREST GROUPS
  27. 27.  The two types of political organizations (Political Parties and Interest Groups) necessarily overlap in a number of ways. However, they differ from one another in three striking respects: 1. In the making of nominations 2. In their primary focus 3. In the scope of their interests POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS
  28. 28. • Parties nominate candidates for public office, interest groups do not. If an interest group were to nominate candidates, it would, in effect, become a political party. • Interest group do try to affect the outcomes of primaries and other nominating contests. However, interest group do not themselves pick candidates who then run under their labels. • It is widely known that a particular interest group supports a candidate, but that candidate seeks votes as a Republican or a Democrat. POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS: THEIR DIFFERENCES
  29. 29. • Political parties are chiefly interested in winning elections and controlling government while interest group are concerned with controlling or influencing the policies of government. • Unlike parties, interest groups do not face the problems involved in trying to appeal to the largest possible number of people. • Political parties are mostly interested in the who, and interest groups are mostly concerned with the what, of government. • Political parties focus mostly on the candidate • Interest groups focus mostly on an issue POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS: THEIR DIFFERENCES
  30. 30. • Political parties are necessarily concerned with the whole range of public affairs, with everything of concern to voters. • Interest groups almost always concentrate only on those issues that most directly affect the interests of their members • Interest group are private organizations • Political parties are not accountable to the public • Their members, not the voters, pass judgment on their performance POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS: THEIR DIFFERENCES
  31. 31.  In 1787, James Madison warned the new nation against the dancers of what he called “factions.”  “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” -The Federalist INTEREST GROUPS: GOOD OR BAD?
  32. 32. •Madison thought the factions were inevitable in human society, and he was opposed to any attempt to abolish them. “A society can only eliminate factions by eliminating freedom.” •Madison states that it is necessary to moderate the potential extremism of factions with a balance of powers •The separations of power in that system would mean that factions would tend to counteract and balance each others’ power.
  33. 33. •50 years later, Alexis de Tocqueville was impressed by the vast number of organizations he found in the U.S. •In Democracy in America he wrote that: “In no country in the world has the principle of association been more successfully used, or more unsparingly applied to a multitude of different objects, than in America.”
  34. 34. VALUABLE FUNCTIONS OF INTEREST GROUPS  Interest groups help to stimulate interest in public affairs.  They raise awareness of public affairs mostly by developing and promoting those policies they favor and by opposing those policies they see as threats to their interest.
  35. 35. VALUABLE FUNCTIONS OF INTEREST GROUPS  Interest groups also represent their members on the basis of shared attitudes rather than on the basis of geography-by what their members think as opposed to where they happen to live.  Public officials are elected from districts drawn on maps. Many of the issues that concern and unite people today have less to do with where they live than with how they make a living.
  36. 36. •Organized interests often provide useful, specialized, and detailed information to government. •This data is important to the making of public policy, and government officials cannot obtain them from any other source. •Interest groups also frequently get information from public agencies and pass it along to their members. VALUABLE FUNCTIONS OF INTEREST GROUPS
  37. 37. •Interest groups are vehicles for political participation. They are a means through which like-minded citizens can pool their resources and channel their energies into collective political action. •Interest groups add another element to the checks-and- balances feature of the political process. Many keep close tabs on the work of various public agencies/officials which help to make sure that they perform their tasks in responsible and effective ways. •Interest groups regularly compete with one another in the public arena. That competition places a very real limit on the lengths to which some groups might otherwise go as they seek to advance their own interests. VALUABLE FUNCTIONS OF INTEREST GROUPS
  38. 38. CRITICISMS  Some interest groups have an influence far out of proportion to their size, or, for that matter, to their importance or contribution to the public good.  Thus, the contest over “who gets what, when, and how” is not always a fair fight. The more highly organized and better financed groups often have a decided advantage in that struggle.
  39. 39. CRITICISMS: • It is sometimes hard to tell just who or how many people a group really represents. • Many groups have titles that suggest that they have thousands-even millions-of dedicated members. • Some organizations that call themselves such things as “The American Citizens Committee for…” or “people Against…” are in fact only “fronts” for a very few people with very few interests.
  40. 40. •Many groups do not in fact represent the views of all of the people for whom they claim to speak. An organization is dominated by an active minority who conduct the group’s affairs and make its policy decisions quite often. •Some groups use tactics that, if they were to become widespread, would undermine the whole political system. These practices include bribery and other heavy-handed uses of money, overt threats of revenge, etc. . They are not altogether common, but the danger is always there.
  41. 41. GROUPS BASED ON ECONOMIC INTERESTS  Most interest groups are based on the manner in which people make their living (economic interests).  The most active and most effective groups are those representing business, labor, agriculture, and certain professions.
  42. 42. BUSINESS GROUPS  Merchants, creditors, and property owners were the people most responsible for calling the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  The U.S. Brewers’ Association (oldest organized interest group at work today), was born in 1862 when Congress first levied a tax on beer. Their purpose was to assure the brewing trade that its interests would be “vigorously prosecuted before the legislative and executive departments.”
  43. 43. •Two best known business organizations are the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. •NAM now represents some 14,000 firms. It generally speaks for “big business” in public affairs •Chamber of Commerce has some 3,000 local chambers and now counts more than 200,000 business and professional firms •The Business Roundtable has taken a large role in promoting and defending in the business community. Composed of the chief executive officers of 150 of the nation’s largest, most prestigious and most influential corporations.
  44. 44. LABOR GROUPS  A labor union is an organization of workers who share the same type of job or who work in the same industry. Labor unions press for government policies that will benefit their members.  Some 16 million Americans, less than 13. 5 percent of the nation’s labor forces belong to labor unions today  As recently as 1975, union membership accounted for fully a fourth of the labor force.
  45. 45. •The largest organized labor, in both size and political power, is the AFL-CIO (the American Federation of Labor- Congress of Industrial Organizations). •AFL-CIO has about 13 million members and is organized on a national, State, and local basis. •The largest and most powerful independent union include groups such as the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Treasury Employees Union, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. LABOR GROUPS
  46. 46. OTHER INTEREST GROUPS  Most interest groups are based on economic concern. Some promote causes and others are devoted to opposing causes.  Examples of groups who promote: American Civil Liberties Union fights to protect civil and political rights. The Friends of the Earth are pledged to conserve our earth and environment.  Examples of groups who oppose causes: The National Right-to-Life committee opposes abortion. Where Planned Parenthood is opposed to the messages of Right-to-Life.
  47. 47. Some interest groups promote welfare of certain segments of the population. Examples  VFW and the American Legion promote our country’s veterans.  AARP represents our nations senior citizens.  NAACP an the National Urban League are concerned with public policies effecting African Americans OTHER INTEREST GROUPS
  48. 48. Religious Organizations often influence public policy also Examples  National Council of Churches, Christian Voice, National Catholic Welfare council, and The American Jewish Congress. OTHER INTEREST GROUPS
  49. 49. PUBLIC-INTEREST GROUPS  Interest groups seek public policies of special benefit to their members.  They work against policies that threaten their members interests. Public Interest Groups- seek to institute certain public policies of benefit to all or most people in this country, whether or not they belong to or support the organization Examples: Common Cause, and League of Women Voters
  50. 50. SECTION 2 : TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS  Nobody knows how many interest groups exist in the United States.  They come in all shapes and sizes. They may have millions of members or simply a handful.  The largest number of interest groups have been founded on the basis of economic interest. An American Tradition
  51. 51. SECTION 3: INTEREST GROUPS AT WORK  Public opinion is the most significant long- term force in American politics.  Interest groups reach out to the public to accomplish one or all of three major goals 1. To supply the public with information an organization thinks the people should have. 2. To build a positive image for a group. 3. To promote a particular public policy. Influencing Public Opinion
  52. 52. PROPAGANDA  Propaganda: technique of persuasion aimed at influencing individual or group behaviors.  Used by interest groups to create the public attitudes they desire  Some view it as a form of lying  To be successful it needs to be presented in simple, interesting, and credible terms.
  53. 53. INFLUENCING PARTIES AND ELECTIONS  Interest groups try to influence political parties in many ways. 1. Some groups keep close tie with one of the major parties. 2. Most want support of both parties. 3. Many groups urge members to become active in party affairs and try to win posts in party organizations.
  54. 54. INFLUENCING PARTIES AND ELECTIONS  Campaigns cost a lot of money and turn to interest groups for financial support.  Much of their financial help goes through political action committees (PACs).  PACs raise and distribute money to candidates who will further their goals.  Single Interest Groups: PACs that concentrate their efforts on one issue Ex. Abortion, gun control, health care, etc.
  55. 55. LOBBYING  Lobbying: activities by which group pressures are brought to bear on legislator and the legislative process.  some like to be called “legislative counsel” or “public “representative”.  Lobbyists know how to bring grass roots to bear.  Grass Roots: of or from the people, average voters  Lobbyists make campaign contributions, provide information, write speeches and draft legislation.
  56. 56.  Each state has it’s own laws regulating lobbying activities.  The lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 eliminates the “principal purpose” standard. It requires all individual lobbyist to register.  They provide basic information such as name, address, and principal place of business. LOBBYING

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