gov-Chapter 10 - Vaughn 1 Chapter 10 Discussion Questions 3 Public opinion is important in a democracy for at least two reasons First reason is we

gov-Chapter 10 - Vaughn 1 Chapter 10 Discussion Questions 3...

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Vaughn 1 Chapter 10 Discussion Questions 3. Public opinion is important in a democracy for at least two reasons. First reason is we believe public opinion should influence what government does. The second is empirical, people behave as though public opinion does matter. Different theories of democracy prescribe different roles for “the people,” in part because these theories disagree about how competent the citizens of a country are to govern themselves. Elitists suspect that citizens are too ignorant or ill informed to be trusted with major political decisions; pluralists trust groups of citizens to be competent on those issues in which they have a stake, but they think that individuals may be too to gather all the information they need to make informed decisions; and proponents of participatory democracy have faith that the people are both smart enough and able to gather enough information to be effective decision makers. We might expect that people change their opinions as they age. Middle-age and older citizens are typically more attentive to and more active in politics: they report more frequent efforts to persuade others, they vote more often, and they are more likely to write letters to public officials and to contribute to political campaigns. For many years, one’s gender had almost no predictive power in explaining opinions and behavior. As
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  • Spring '14
  • Opinion poll, Barbour, pluralists trust groups

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