What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters

What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters

by Michael X. Delli Carpini, Scott Keeter
     
 

This book is the most comprehensive analysis ever written about the American public's factual knowledge of politics. Drawing on extensive survey data, including much that is original, two experts in public opinion and political behavior find that many citizens are remarkably well informed about the details of politics, while equally large numbers are nearly ignorant… See more details below

Overview

This book is the most comprehensive analysis ever written about the American public's factual knowledge of politics. Drawing on extensive survey data, including much that is original, two experts in public opinion and political behavior find that many citizens are remarkably well informed about the details of politics, while equally large numbers are nearly ignorant of political facts. And despite dramatic changes in American society and politics, citizens appear no more or less informed today than half a century ago. Michael X. Delli Carpini and Scott Keeter demonstrate that informed persons are more likely to participate, better able to discern their own interests, and more likely to advocate those interests through political actions. Who, then, is politically informed? The authors provide compelling evidence that whites, men, and older, financially secure citizens have substantially more knowledge about national politics than do blacks, women, young adults, and financially less-well-off citizens. Thus citizens who are most disadvantaged socially and economically are least able to redress their grievances politically. Yet the authors believe that a broader and more equitably informed populace is possible. The challenge to America, they conclude, lies in providing an environment in which the benefits of being informed are clearer, the tools for gaining information more accessible, and the opportunities to learn about politics more frequent, timely, and equitable.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300062564
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/27/1996
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Political Knowledge, Political Power, and the Democratic Citizen1
Ch. 1From Democratic Theory to Democratic Practice: The Case for an Informed Citizenry22
Ch. 2What Americans Know about Politics62
Ch. 3Stability and Change in Political Knowledge105
Ch. 4Who's Informed? Individual, Group, and Collective Patterns of Political Knowledge135
Ch. 5Explaining Political Knowledge178
Ch. 6The Consequences of Political Knowledge and Ignorance218
Ch. 7Informing the Public's Discretion268
Appendix One: Overview of Data Sources291
Appendix Two: The Conceptualization and Measurement of Political Knowledge294
Appendix Three: Knowledge over Time307
Appendix Four: Details of the Structural Analysis Used in Chapter 4329
Appendix Five: Methodology of the Analysis of Information's Impact on Opinion in Chapter 6334
Notes337
Bibliography367
Index387

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >