Politicians Ignore Public Interest

By Jones, Terry | St. Louis Journalism Review, April 2005 | Go to article overview

Politicians Ignore Public Interest


Jones, Terry, St. Louis Journalism Review


One of the more interesting aspects of the Terri Schiavo case is how much many elected officials--and presumably the political gurus advising them--misread public opinion.

No doubt moral principle motivated some legislators to support federal intervention. But the volume of support, the rapidity with which it was done (when was the last time a president flew through the night to sign a bill?) and the intensity of comments all suggest that many Americans thought having the national government step in was smart politics.

They were wrong. Frank Newport, once a sociology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and now in charge of the Gallup Poll, has assembled the survey evidence. Here's what it shows:

* The politicians should have known better. The one time Gallup asked about a Schiavo-type case, in October 2003, 80 percent said that "when a patient is in a persistent vegetative state caused by irreversible brain damage, his or her spouse should be allowed by law to make a final decision to end the patient's life by some painless means" and just 17 percent replied that such action "should not be allowed."

* As the media frenzy peaked in the third week of March, three polls (Gallup, Time, CBS News) had majorities ranging from 56 percent to 61 percent agreeing with Michael Schiavo's decision to remove his wife's feeding tube, with 28 percent to 35 percent disagreeing. All three questions mentioned Terri Schiavo's parents' opposition to removing the feeding tube and two cited arguments put forth by her parents (e.g., "her condition could improve").

* Opposition to federal intervention is consistent and strong. A March 22-24 Time survey showed 75 percent saying Congress's involvement was "not right" and almost as many, 70 percent, thought the same about President George W. Bush. In the same poll, 65 percent said that the "Congress and the president's intervention had more to do with politics" rather than "their values and principles." Fifty-four percent would be less likely and just 21 percent more likely to vote for a member of Congress who "voted to move the Schiavo case to the federal courts."

* Democratic and Republican legislators receive roughly equal disapproval for their action (among Democrats, 42 percent disapprove and 28 percent approve; among Republicans, 47 percent disapprove and 26 percent approve) according to a March 22 Gallup poll.

Otis White with the Civic Strategies consulting firm writes a monthly column on urban doings for Governing magazine and produces a daily e-mail about what's happening in U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 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.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Politicians Ignore Public Interest
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

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 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    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.