Public Opinion

By Carroll J. Glynn; Susan Herbst et al. | Go to book overview

tive wisdom of the people, that seems to me critical." 91 Thus, Zaller's view is similar to Lippmann's--the public's role is to choose between the Ins and the Outs--although "pressur[ing] leaders" may allow for a somewhat larger role. Although the public cannot conduct political debate, at least it can tell when its leaders go astray.

Even so, Zaller resembles Page and Shapiro more in his concerns than he is different in his conclusions. None of these authors sees the public as inherently capricious, rash, authoritarian, or otherwise dangerous. They worry more that elite debate might become one-sided: In Zaller's closing words, "The real problem is guaranteeing the existence of . . . [a] vigorous competition among opposing ideas." 92 As long as elite debate thrives and is accessible to the public, Zaller reasons, the public will be able to support the side that matches its own prevailing predispositions. Page is less optimistic: He worries that no matter what policy experts are saying and no matter what the public believes, nothing can force the major political parties to adopt public preferences. 93 Either way, clearly it is possible for the government to go against public predispositions. The next chapter investigates policy responsiveness to public opinion in great detail.


Conclusion

This chapter began by citing three standards for considered public opinion or democratic competence. What have we concluded about these three standards? First, the public does not have much knowledge, at any one moment, about a wide range of political issues or related facts. However, what citizens do know, and what they learn about issues when they become salient and important, appears to be adequate for many purposes--or at least such a case can be made. But "adequacy" is a subjective judgment, and even those who have argued that the public is "rational" or reasonable or sensible would agree that political life would be better for citizens and the nation if people learned more about political issues.

Second, although individual citizens may not have the opportunity and information to engage fully in deliberation on political issues, research on aggregatepublic opinion and voting decisions finds these to be largely explainable, understandable, and even sensible. The trends and patterns that we see can be described in terms of collective deliberation, conducted by a thoughtful public that weighs new information and experiences against its previous values. However, the quality of this deliberation is only as good as the information presented to the public--and skeptics doubt that it is even that good. Moreover, the results of deliberation, as measured by public opinion polls, can be frustratingly enigmatic, if not downright contradictory. Some observers hope that deliberative polls, such as the National Issues Convention

-291-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Public Opinion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xv
  • Part One - Introducing Public Opinion 1
  • Chapter One - The Meanings of Public Opinion 3
  • Notes 30
  • Chapter Two - The History of Public Opinion 62
  • Chapter Three - Methods for Studying Public Opinion 65
  • Conclusion 99
  • Notes 99
  • Part Two - Theories of Public Opinion 101
  • Chapter Four - Psychological Perspectives 103
  • Notes 139
  • Chapter Five - Sociological Perspectives 145
  • Conclusion 171
  • Notes 172
  • Chapter Six - Perception and Opinion Formation 207
  • Chapter Seven - Basic Beliefs, Democratic Theory, and Public Opinion 212
  • Conclusion 242
  • Notes 243
  • Part Three - Public Opinion in Context 247
  • Chapter Eight - Public Opinion and Democratic Competence 249
  • Conclusion 291
  • Notes 292
  • Chapter Nine - Public Opinion and Policymaking 299
  • Conclusion 335
  • Notes 336
  • Chapter Ten - The Content of Our Attitudes: Public Opinion in the Contemporary United States 341
  • Conclusion 376
  • Notes 377
  • Chapter Eleven - Communicating with the Public 412
  • Chapter Twelve - Campaigning and Opinion Change 445
  • Chapter Thirteen - Looking Ahead 451
  • Index 453
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 478

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.