Download The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans' by Benjamin I. PDF

By Benjamin I.

This enormous research is a entire serious survey of the coverage personal tastes of the yankee public, and may be the definitive paintings on American public opinion for a while to come back. Drawing on a big physique of public opinion facts, Benjamin I. web page and Robert Y. Shapiro give you the richest on hand portrait of the political opinions of american citizens, from the 1930's to 1990. They not just hide all kinds of household and international coverage matters, but in addition examine how evaluations range via age, gender, race, area, and the like.

The authors unequivocally show that, even though fluctuations within the reviews of people, collective public opinion is remarkably coherent: it displays a solid method of values shared via the vast majority of americans and it responds sensitively to new occasions, arguments, and data mentioned within the mass media. whereas documenting a few alarming case of manipulation, web page and Shapiro solidly determine the stability and cost of collective political opinion. The Rational Public presents a wealth of data approximately what we as a state have sought after from govt, how we've got replaced our minds through the years, and why.

For someone attracted to the quick- and long term developments in americans' coverage personal tastes, or desirous to examine what american citizens have considered concerns starting from racial equality to the MX missile, welfare to abortion, this e-book deals by way of some distance the main refined and unique remedy available.

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Additional info for The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans' Policy Preferences (American Politics and Political Economy Series)

Sample text

In order to see how this can occur, it is necessary to examine the nature of individual and collective policy preferences and the relationship between them. From Individual Ignorance to Collective Wisdom A typical individual's policy preferences, it seems fair to assume, are neither perfectly informed and fixed nor totally uninformed and random. Instead, they are based on some fundamental needs and values that are relatively enduring (see Feldman 1988); on some uncertain beliefs concerning how public policies relate to those needs and values; and on some incomplete fragments of information that tend on the wholethough not, perhaps, with total consistency-to support those beliefs.

Modem instrument design and interviewing techniques, combining art and science, elicit meaningful responses. Aggregate results of the sort we are concerned with (percentages of respondents giving particular answers) tend to average out individual-level errors and fluctuations. And our focus on changes over RationalPublic Opinion 31 time in responses to identical questions overcomes most of the usual travails associated with imperfect question wording. Throughout the book we will deal with various problems related to opinion measurement as they come up, and we will make occasional caustic comments about particular survey questions or survey organizations.

S. foreign policy activism of the 1960s (especially the Vietnam War); relations with China; conflicts in the Middle East; and the periods of detente, renewed tension with the USSR, and once again detente. S. society and the economy, the foreign policy chapters emphasize the role of international events-sometimes abrupt events-and the part played by the media-reported statements and actions of presidents and other opinion leaders. Chapter 7 deals with opinion trends among particular subgroups in the population: that is, trends among Americans grouped according to age, sex, race, region of the country, educational level, income, and the 36 Chapter One like.

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