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Public Opinion
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Public Opinion
Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice

Fourth Edition


July 2020 | 536 pages | CQ Press
In Public Opinion: Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice, Fourth Edition, Clawson and Oxley link the enduring normative questions of democratic theory to existing empirical research on public opinion. Organized around a series of questions—In a democratic society, what should be the relationship between citizens and their government? Are citizens’ opinions pliable? Are they knowledgeable, attentive, and informed?—the text explores the tension between ideals and their practice. Each chapter focuses on exemplary studies, explaining not only the conclusion of the research, but how it was conducted, so students gain a richer understanding of the research process and see methods applied in context.
 
Tables, Figures, and Features
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
Part I. What Should the Role of Citizens Be in a Democratic Society?
 
Chapter 1. Public Opinion in a Democracy
Theories of Democracy

 
What Is Public Opinion?

 
Defining Key Concepts

 
Empirical Assessments of Public Opinion

 
Themes of the Book

 
 
Appendix to Chapter 1 Studying Public Opinion Empirically
Public Opinion Surveys

 
Experiments

 
Interviews

 
Focus Groups

 
Content Analysis

 
Conclusion

 
 
Part II. Are Citizens Pliable?
 
Chapter 2. Political Socialization
Childhood Socialization

 
Parental Transmission of Political Attitudes

 
Generational and Period Effects

 
Genetic Inheritance of Political Attitudes

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 3. Mass Media
What Should Citizens Expect from the Mass Media in a Democracy?

 
What General Characteristics of the Mass Media Shape News Coverage?

 
What Specific Characteristics of the Traditional News Media Shape the Reporting of Political Events?

 
What About Fake News?

 
Are Citizens Affected by the Mass Media?

 
Media Effects in a Changing Technological Environment

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 4. Attitude Stability and Attitude Change
Are Americans’ Attitudes Stable?

 
Presidential Approval

 
Psychological Approaches to Attitudes

 
Conclusion

 
 
Part III. Do Citizens Organize Their Political Thinking?
 
Chapter 5. Ideology, Partisanship, and Polarization
Converse’s Claim: Ideological Innocence

 
Ideological Identification

 
Party Identification

 
Polarization

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 6. Roots of Public Opinion: Personality, Self-Interest, Values, and History
Personality

 
Self-Interest

 
Values

 
Historical Events

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 7. Roots of Public Opinion: The Central Role of Groups
Race, Ethnicity, and Public Opinion

 
Rural Consciousness

 
Gender and Public Opinion

 
Conclusion

 
 
Part IV. Do Citizens Endorse and Demonstrate Democratic Basics?
 
Chapter 8. Knowledge, Interest, and Attention to Politics
How Knowledgeable, Interested, and Attentive Should Citizens Be in a Democracy?

 
Are Citizens Knowledgeable about Politics?

 
Measuring Political Knowledge

 
Why Are Some Citizens More Knowledgeable Than Others?

 
What Are the Consequences of Political Knowledge?

 
Are Citizens Interested in and Attentive to Politics?

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 9. Support for Civil Liberties
Support for Democratic Principles

 
Are Americans Tolerant?

 
Sources of Tolerant Attitudes

 
Contextual Influences on Tolerance Judgments

 
Are Elites More Tolerant?

 
Civil Liberties Post-9/11

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 10. Support for Civil Rights
Public Opinion and Presidential Candidates

 
Support for Civil Rights Policies

 
Conclusion

 
 
Part V. What Is the Relationship between Citizens and Their Government?
 
Chapter 11. Trust in Government, Support for Institutions, and Social Capital
Trust in Government

 
Support for Institutions

 
Social Capital

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 12. Impact of Public Opinion on Policy
Should Public Opinion Influence Policy?

 
Is Public Opinion Related to Policy?

 
Do Politicians Follow or Lead the Public?

 
Public Opinion and Foreign Policy

 
Conclusion

 
 
Part VI. What Do We Make of Public Opinion in a Democracy?
 
Chapter 13. Conclusion
What Should the Role of Citizens Be in a Democratic Society?

 
Are Citizens Pliable?

 
Do Citizens Organize Their Political Thinking?

 
Do Citizens Endorse and Demonstrate Democratic Basics?

 
What Is the Relationship between Citizens and Their Government?

 
What Do We Make of Public Opinion in a Democracy?

 
 
Notes
 
Glossary
 
Index
 
About the Authors

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2