American Public Opinion: Its Origins, Content, and Impact / Edition 8

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Providing an in-depth analysis of public opinion, beginning with its origins in political socialization, the impact of the media, the extent and breadth of democratic values, and the role of public opinion in the electoral process, American Public Opinion goes beyond a simple presentation of data to include a critical analysis of the role of public opinion in American democracy. Using the most current survey data from the 2008 elections and the latest literature on the subject, Erikson and Tedin analyze public opinion and its role in the policy and politics of the United States.

This and every Longman book is

Authoritative. Written and peer-reviewed by leading scholars and teachers.

Current. Revised to reflect changes in the world and in our knowledge of it.

Effective. Pedagogically designed to help students master any topic.

Supported. Backed by local publisher's representatives, online resources, and more to improve teaching and learning.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables xi

Credits for Figures and Tables xv

Preface xix

Chapter 1 Public Opinion in Democratic Societies 1

1-1 Public Opinion and Government 1

1-2 Public Opinion Defined 7

1-3 The Evolution of the Public Opinion Poll 9

1-4 The Modern Public Opinion Poll and Its Political Consequences 13

1-5 Sources of Information on Public Opinion 16

1-6 Linkage Models Between Public Opinion and Public Policies 19

1-7 Plan of This Book 22

Chapter 2 Polling: The Scientific Assessment of Public Opinion 25

2-1 The Value of Polls 25

2-2 Sampling 28

2-3 Question Wording 40

2-4 Polls and Predicting Elections 47

2-5 Conclusion 53

Chapter 3 Microlevel Opinion: The Psychology of Opinion-Holding 57

3-1 Political Attention and Opinion-Holding 59

3-2 Liberal-Conservative Ideology and the Organization of Opinions 72

3-3 Party Identification and the Organization of Political Opinions 83

Chapter 4 Macrolevel Opinion: The Flow of Political Sentiment 92

4-1 The Micro Foundations of Macro Opinion 93

4-2 Trends in Policy Opinions 95

4-3 General Ideological Movement 113

4-4 General Partisan Movement 115

4-5 Presidential Approval 118

4-6 Conclusion: What Moves Public Opinion? 122

Chapter 5 Political Socialization and Political Learning 125

5-1 The Preadult Years: Socialization to Citizenship 125

5-2 The Agents of Preadult Socialization 129

5-3 College: Higher Education and Its Impact 138

5-4 Personal Predispositions and Political Attitudes 143

5-5 Socialization during Adulthood 146

5-6 The Persistence of Political Orientations 154

5-7 Conclusion 157

Chapter 6 Public Opinion and Democratic Stability 161

6-1 Support for Democratic Values 162

6-2 Political Consensus 174

6-3 Political Support: Trust and Efficacy 176

6-4 Personality and Democratic Citizenship 183

6-5 Conclusion 188

Chapter 7 Group Differences in Political Opinions 190

7-1 Socioeconomic Class and Political Opinions 190

7-2 Race and Political Opinions 199

7-3 Age and Political Opinions 204

7-4 Religion and Political Opinions 207

7-5 Geography and Political Opinions 213

7-6 Gender and Political Opinions 218

7-7 Conclusion 223

Chapter 8 The News Media and Political Opinions 226

8-1 The Evolution of the American Media 226

8-2 Bias and Negativity in the News 232

8-3 Models of Media Effects 241

8-4 Media Content and Political Opinions 246

8-5 Media Change and the Quality of Electoral Decision-Making 251

8-6 Political Advertising 255

8-7 Conclusion 258

Chapter 9 Elections as Instruments of Popular Control 260

9-1 Political Campaigns and the Voter 261

9-2 Policy Issues and Voters 267

9-3 Explaining Election Outcomes 280

9-4 Conclusion 288

Chapter 10 The Public and Its Elected Leaders 292

10-1 Opinion Sharing Between Policymakers and the Public 292

10-2 Political Parties and Representation 296

10-3 Leadership Responsiveness to Public Opinion 305

10-4 Do Elected Officials Need to Follow Public Opinion? 312

10-5 Interest Groups and Democratic Representation 316

10-6 Conclusion 319

Chapter 11 Public Opinion and the Performance of Democracy 322

11-1 Assessing the Impact of Public Opinion on Policy 322

11-2 Interpreting the Public's Role in Democracy 330

11-3 The Expansion of Political Participation 332

Appendix The American National Election Study and the General Social Survey Questions 335

A-1 Questions from the American National Election Studies 336

A-2 Questions from the General Social Survey 340

References 341

Index 375

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