political science notes4

political science notes4 - Public Opinion I What is Public...

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Public Opinion I. What is Public opinion? i. The collective attitudes of the public, or segments of the public, toward issues of the day II. Why Study Public Opinion? A. Public opinion regarding political issues (as opposed to American Idol) is important for at least 2 reasons i. Legitimacy of the government a) If the public doesn't support the government, as the public policies increasingly diverge from public opinion, the government loses its mandate. If the govt loses too much legitimacy, what can happen? b) Government has a hard time if the public perceives that it is illegitimate c) Regardless of the form of gov. , this is important (why?) ii. Public opinion is essential to a well functioning republic... a) To the extent that public opinion is consistent with public policy, the republic is functioning more democratically. Why? III. Who Cares About Public Opinion? A. Pasty faced, skinny academics B. Journalists C. Politicians i. Do politicians pander? a) Evidence b) Democrats and Iraq funding bill ii. Should they pander? a) Pro: more democratic. Why?
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