Constructing public Opinion Justin Lewis. Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Resistance and Consent in Public Opinion Public Opinion and Public Policy.

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<ul><li> Slide 1 </li> <li> Constructing public Opinion Justin Lewis </li> <li> Slide 2 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Resistance and Consent in Public Opinion Public Opinion and Public Policy Does the success of a conservative business agenda in the US indicate broad public support for such a program? Public Opposition to Business Agenda On any number of economic issues, public opinion is more far more liberal than that of the elite political establishment. Elites: Socially Liberal, Economically Conservative </li> <li> Slide 3 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Resistance and Consent in Public Opinion Political Economy of Power: Lewis Argument The nations conservative business agenda is not a product of direct public approval or consent. Rather, it is a consequence of specific political economy geared to elites interests. </li> <li> Slide 4 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Resistance and Consent in Public Opinion Features of Elite-Governed Political System 1) Weak Campaign Finance Reform 2) Weak Political Parties 3) Powerful Lobbying Groups 4) Public Relations Driven Campaigns </li> <li> Slide 5 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Resistance and Consent in Public Opinion Structuring Public Opinion: Views of Donors v. Voters Center For Responsive Politics found that donors were politically far to the right of general public. Donors tend to be mainly wealthy, upper-status men, who tend to have conservative views, especially on economic issues. (Green, Herrnson, Powell and Wilcox 1988) </li> <li> Slide 6 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Deflecting Cynicism From Power Public Opinion and Rates of Political Participation in the US Who votes in the US? Who doesnt, and Why? Variables Effecting Participation: 1) Trust in Government 2) Perception of Runs Government </li> <li> Slide 7 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Variables Effecting Participation: 1) Trust in Government Is Government run by big interests or is it run for the benefit of the people? Since 1970s: Most Americans think the government is run by big interests, or special interests. (70% by 1990s). </li> <li> Slide 8 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Variables Effecting Participation: 1) Trust in Government Trust in government also varies by income. % Believe they Have No Say in Government Professionals: 44% Unskilled Workers: 80% </li> <li> Slide 9 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Variables Effecting Participation: 2) Defining Big Interests Curiously, belief that big interests run the government does not vary by income, or gender, or race. Big Interests: Contesting, rather than Having Power The reason for this apparent anomaly is that the public generally associates the idea of big interest with anyone who contests power. </li> <li> Slide 10 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Big Interests: Contesting, rather than Having Power Who is a Big or Special Interest? A series of polls taken of students Sept 95 Sept 96 Sept 99 Citizens Groups: 37% 46% 63% Businesses/Corporations: 34% 23% 34% </li> <li> Slide 11 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Frameworks of Assumption: The Establishment of Consent Three assumptions have become central to the narrative that the US political system is broadly representative, rather than elite-dominated: 1) Left versus Right Framework of Reporting 2) Downplaying Economic Issues in Politics 3) US as Model of Free, Democratic Society </li> <li> Slide 12 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Frameworks of Assumption: The Establishment of Consent 1) Left versus Right Framework of Reporting The political debates are frequently framed as right versus left. Who is Left and Right? There is a tendency to stress the differences between the two majority parties, especially on social issues. Ex: Clinton as Left </li> <li> Slide 13 </li> <li> Political Spectrum: US Politics Right: Private Negative Liberty: Freedom Free Left: Public Positive. Liberty: Freedom To Center: Public-Private Hybrid Less Government Scale More </li> <li> Slide 14 </li> <li> Political Spectrum: US Politics Right: Private Negative Liberty: Freedom Free Left: Public Positive. Liberty: Freedom To Center: Public-Private Hybrid Less Government Scale More Private Democratic Party Public </li> <li> Slide 15 </li> <li> Political Spectrum: US Politics Right: Private Negative Liberty: Freedom Free Left: Public Positive. Liberty: Freedom To Center: Public-Private Hybrid Less Government Scale More Private Democratic Party Public Private Insurance Health Care No public option </li> <li> Slide 16 </li> <li> Political Spectrum: US Politics Right: Private Negative Liberty: Freedom Free Left: Public Positive. Liberty: Freedom To Center: Public-Private Hybrid Less Government Scale More Private Republican Party Public Private Investment Social Security Public </li> <li> Slide 17 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy Frameworks of Assumption: The Establishment of Consent 2) Downplaying Economic Issues in Politics The emphasis on the differences of opinion between parties on social issues conceals a general consensus among political elites on economic policy. Elites: Socially Liberal, Economically Conservative </li> <li> Slide 18 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy 2) Downplaying Economic Issues in Politics Media Coverage of Economic Issues The media does not cover economic issues as a question of competing political philosophy. </li> <li> Slide 19 </li> <li> Selling Unrepresentative Democracy 2) Downplaying Economic Issues in Politics Who Gives to Which Party? Lobbying http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=K02http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=K02 Lobbying: Top Spenders http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=s Lobbying: Sectors http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=c Candidates http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&amp;cid=N00009 638 http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&amp;cid=N00006424 </li> <li> Slide 20 </li> <li> US Public Opinion </li> <li> Slide 21 </li> <li> Slide 22 </li> <li> Slide 23 </li> <li> Slide 24 </li> <li> Slide 25 </li> <li> Manufacturing Consent </li> </ul>

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