rational_public - xvi Prehce nett, Herbert Gans, Ora...

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xvi Prehce nett, Herbert Gans, Ora Simcha-Fagan, Tom McCarthy, Todd Gitlin, Daniel Hallin, Michael MacKuen, Lutz Erbring, Jim Kuklinski, and Noam Chomsky, and Donald Saari. We are also grateful for discussions with and ideas from Allen Bar- ton, Richard Pious, Dennis Quinn, Eric Smith, Eleanor Singer, Michael Delli Carpini, Nathaniel Leff, Alan Westin, Lewis Edinger, Mildred Schwartz, Phil Davison, A1 Gollin, Russell Neuman, Allan Silver, Thom- as Cook, Darrell West, Jim Stimson, James Gibson, Kathryn Yatrakis, Judith Mack, Douglas Chalmers, Philip Oldenburg, Thomas Bernstein, Roger Hilsman, Steven Cohen, Harold Watts, and Alfred Stepan. Some of our ideas can be traced back to Page's work with Richard Brody at Stanford University. More recently, we are also particularly grate- ful to Tom Ferguson, who made numerous suggestions about elite influences upon public opinion, and to Tom Graham, who insisted upon the autonomous force of public opinion and the importance of genuine party competition. Neither of us was fortunate enough to meet V. 0. Key, Jr., but the spirit of his work was important in shaping ours. Our deepest personal thanks go to our families, including helpers Eleanor, Tim, Alex, and Benjamin, and especially to Mary De Florio and Mary Page, who endured-for longer than they or we care to remember- all the absences, tensions, and travails inherent in such a project, and who supported us in many important ways. Despite these many debts we are, of course, entirely responsible for the analyses, interpretations, and arguments in the book, some of which may provoke controversy. Benjamin I. Page Robert Y. Shapiro Evanston and New York December 1991 I Rational Public Opinion we propose to show in this book that the American public, as a collat&iti, holds a number of&, ss, and sensible opinions about public policy and that these opinions develop and change in a reasonable , - fashion, responding to changing circumstances and to n- n. Our evidence comes trom many hunareas of opinion surveys conducted between 1935 and 1990. Our theme of a rational public flies in the face of a great deal of con- ventional wisdom and scholarly commentary. It is common to express skepticism about, even disdain for, the knowledge and the reasoning ca- pacity of the public. We will argue that such skepticism and disdain are not well founded. The most persuasive evidence that is usually brought forth to support a negative view of public opinion-namely, survey research findings con- cerning the political ignorance and inattentiveness of individual citizens and the changeability of their expressed policy preferences-does not ac- tually speak to the question of public opinion as . As will be shown here, collective public opinion has properet erent from those of the opinions of individual citizens, taken one at a time.
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This note was uploaded on 01/18/2009 for the course COMM 4200 taught by Professor Shanahan,j. during the Spring '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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rational_public - xvi Prehce nett, Herbert Gans, Ora...

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