American Public Opinion: Its Origins, Content, and Impact

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2010-06-28
  • Publisher: Routledge
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Updated in a new 8 th edition, this book goes beyond a simple presentation of data to include a critical analysis of the role of public opinion in American democracy. It provides an in-depth analysis of public opinion, beginning with its origins in political socialization, the impact of the media, the extent and breadth of democratic values, to the role of public opinion in the electoral process. Using the most current survey data from the 2008 elections and the latest literature on the subject, Erikson and Tedin analyze public opinion and its role in the policy and politics of the United States.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tablesp. xi
Credits for Figures and Tablesp. xv
Prefacep. xix
Public Opinion in Democratic Societiesp. 1
Public Opinion and Governmentp. 1
Public Opinion Definedp. 7
The Evolution of the Public Opinion Pollp. 9
The Modern Public Opinion Poll and Its Political Consequencesp. 13
Sources of Information on Public Opinionp. 16
Linkage Models Between Public Opinion and Public Policiesp. 19
Plan of This Bookp. 22
Polling: The Scientific Assessment of Public Opinionp. 25
The Value of Pollsp. 25
Samplingp. 28
Question Wordingp. 40
Polls and Predicting Electionsp. 47
Conclusionp. 53
Microlevel Opinion: The Psychology of Opinion-Holdingp. 57
Political Attention and Opinion-Holdingp. 59
Liberal-Conservative Ideology and the Organization of Opinionsp. 72
Party Identification and the Organization of Political Opinionsp. 83
Macrolevel Opinion: The Flow of Political Sentimentp. 92
The Micro Foundations of Macro Opinionp. 93
Trends in Policy Opinionsp. 95
General Ideological Movementp. 113
General Partisan Movementp. 115
Presidential Approvalp. 118
Conclusion: What Moves Public Opinion?p. 122
Political Socialization and Political Learningp. 125
The Preadult Years: Socialization to Citizenshipp. 125
The Agents of Preadult Socializationp. 129
College: Higher Education and Its Impactp. 138
Personal Predispositions and Political Attitudesp. 143
Socialization during Adulthoodp. 146
The Persistence of Political Orientationsp. 154
Conclusionp. 157
Public Opinion and Democratic Stabilityp. 161
Support for Democratic Valuesp. 162
Political Consensusp. 174
Political Support: Trust and Efficacyp. 176
Personality and Democratic Citizenshipp. 183
Conclusionp. 188
Group Differences in Political Opinionsp. 190
Socioeconomic Class and Political Opinionsp. 190
Race and Political Opinionsp. 199
Age and Political Opinionsp. 204
Religion and Political Opinionsp. 207
Geography and Political Opinionsp. 213
Gender and Political Opinionsp. 218
Conclusionp. 223
The News Media and Political Opinionsp. 226
The Evolution of the American Mediap. 226
Bias and Negativity in the Newsp. 232
Models of Media Effectsp. 241
Media Content and Political Opinionsp. 246
Media Change and the Quality of Electoral Decision-Makingp. 251
Political Advertisingp. 255
Conclusionp. 258
Elections as Instruments of Popular Controlp. 260
Political Campaigns and the Voterp. 261
Policy Issues and Votersp. 267
Explaining Election Outcomesp. 280
Conclusionp. 288
The Public and Its Elected Leadersp. 292
Opinion Sharing Between Policymakers and the Publicp. 292
Political Parties and Representationp. 296
Leadership Responsiveness to Public Opinionp. 305
Do Elected Officials Need to Follow Public Opinion?p. 312
Interest Groups and Democratic Representationp. 316
Conclusionp. 319
Public Opinion and the Performance of Democracyp. 322
Assessing the Impact of Public Opinion on Policyp. 322
Interpreting the Public's Role in Democracyp. 330
The Expansion of Political Participationp. 332
Appendix The American National Election Study and the General Social Survey Questionsp. 335
Questions from the American National Election Studiesp. 336
Questions from the General Social Surveyp. 340
Referencesp. 341
Indexp. 375
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