Citizens, Political Communication, and Interest Groups: Environmental Organizations in Canada and the United States

By John C. Pierce; Mary Ann E. Steger et al. | Go to book overview

vergence, especially within those cohorts increasingly subject to the same economic, political, and informational influences. If cultural convergence is present, it can be expected that the two countries also will come closer in the way they allow for interest group activity.

What have the results reported here shown concerning the nature of contemporary political culture in the United States and Canada? In many ways, the two countries differ in hypothesized directions. At the same time, in the analysis of the factors associated with postmaterial values among Americans and Canadians we found that value convergence appears most likely among the activist segments of the two political cultures. But, when examining libertarian values in conjunction with postmaterialism, there is evidence of a complex pattern of divergence. That is, among materialists, the libertarian differences between Canadians and Americans are greatest in the younger age group, but among the postmaterialists they are greatest in the older-age cohort. Across these general political values and across other indicators of potential differences in political culture (e.g., perceptions of conflict and cooperation and support for government regulation), there is ample support for our hypothesis. That is, as measured here, Canadian and American interest groups appear to operate in somewhat different cultural contexts as they provide potential ways to confront the technical information quandary. The following chapters will explore the extent to which the differences discovered to this point are translated into the interest group worlds of the two countries.


NOTES
1.
According to the U.S. Census for 1980, the total population of Michigan is 9,262,078, and the comparable Ontario figure is 8,715,800. In addition, the province and state have sizable urban populations in cities over 25,000 (4,241,730 in Michigan and 5,920,777 in Ontario), and both contain a large metropolitan center ( Detroit and Toronto, respectively). Finally, the economic bases of Ontario and Michigan are roughly similar; each holds a complex of large industrial centers and the economies of both areas possess sizable and growing tertiary sectors.
2.
The four population categories used were: (1) 25,000 to 50,000; (2) 50,001 to 100,000; (3) 100,001 to 250,000; and (4) cities with populations of 250,001 or more. The number of respondents selected from the cities in each of the size categories was determined by calculating the proportion of the total provincial/ state population in cities of at least 25,000 found in cities in the particular size category. The actual survey respondents were chosen at random from telephone directories. Although samples of 1000 were selected in both Ontario and Michigan, many mailed questionnaires were undeliverable. The following breakdown details the number of survey questionnaires sent to respondents, the number actually delivered, the number returned, and the response rates (the number

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Citizens, Political Communication, and Interest Groups: Environmental Organizations in Canada and the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figure and Tables ix
  • Series Foreword xiii
  • Notes xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Chapter One - Information, Individuals, and Interest Groups 1
  • Conclusion 31
  • Chapter Two - the Political Culture Context 33
  • Notes 64
  • Chapter Three - Trust in Sources of Policy-Relevant Information 69
  • Notes 94
  • Chapter Four - the Information Incentive 95
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter Five - Organizational Resources and Informational Capacity 123
  • Notes 147
  • Chapter Six - Environmental Groups as Communicators 151
  • Note 170
  • Chapter Seven - Interest Groups, Individuals, and the Technical Information Quandary 171
  • Conclusion 186
  • Appendix Survey Questionnaires 191
  • References 211
  • Index 223
  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS 227
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