Summary - Summary Chapter 1 of The Rational Public by...

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Summary: Chapter 1 of The Rational Public  by Benjamin I. Page and Robert Y.  Shapiro This book intends to show that the American public as a collective body is  capable of holding rational opinions and processing the information given to it. The  solution   for   any   flaws   within   the   American   government   can   be   found   with   more  democracy, not less. The national government’s founders feared the public’s ‘passions’ and so devised  many ways in which to avoid popular sovereignty. One of the harshest modern critics of  public opinion is Walter Lippmann, who, disillusioned with the aftermath of World War  I, blamed the American people, saying that it was a ‘false ideal’ to hope that voters could  be ‘inherently competent’ in public affairs. Lippmann’s opinion isn’t unfounded; after surveys became instituted around the  1930s, Americans were found to be ignorant of basic political facts and uninterested in  politics and voting. One 1940 survey found that most people made up their minds about  who to vote for before actually going to vote, a result that was declared in opposition to  intelligent voting. The instability found in individual responses from these early surveys 
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