GOVT311 Lecture 9 Public Opinion

GOVT311 Lecture 9 Public Opinion - Public Opinion GOVT 311...

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Public Opinion GOVT 311 Lecture 9
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What is Public Opinion? An aggregation of individual opinions Reflection of the majority produces conformity on controversial issues Pluralism, the clash of organized interests Intensity of opinion Media and elite opinion A myth, it is rhetoric If a myth or elite driven, despotism may result.
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Which way Is best? Depends on availability of data Type of government Available technology
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The Greeks & Romans Plato envisioned an ideal citizen and public opinion as the basis of law Believed that the masses were generally uneducated Thus, the best ruler would be a philosopher-king Aristotle held a more positive view of the people Saw public opinion as the norms of society Romans Saw public opinion as an affirmation of leaders
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Niccolò Machiavelli Agreed with Plato that people are “thankless, fickle, false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of gain…and in your hour of need they turn against you.” Also believed in a benevolent dictator Began articulating the idea of Pluralism
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