Pol 101 Lecture 23: POL101 10.27.14

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12 Apr 2016
POL101 10.27.14
Public Opinion
The role of public opinion in a democracy
oWhy public opinion ought to matter:
The government’s legitimacy rests on the idea that Gov. exists
to serve the interests of its citizens
oWhy public opion DOES matter
Politicians act as though they believe the public is keeping ….?
Two competeing views of citizenship
oThe ideal democratic citizen
A virtuous citizen concerned with common problems
Concerned for the common good
Recognizes that democracy carries obligations as well as rights
Need to be informed on politics and current events
oThe Apolitical, self-interested citizen
Inattentive and ill informed
Easily manipulated
Politically intolerant
Unlikely o participate
Four Criteria for ideal democratic citizens
oPolitical knowledge
Political Knowledge
o99% of Americans can name the president
o86% can name VP
o33% can name Chief Justice
o11% can name speaker of house
oIdeas and beliefs about what gov ought to do or not do
oThe lens through which a citizen views society and gov
oTranscends political drama of the moments
oThe willingness to allow minority views
Nobody is always in the majority
Christians, patriots, etc all began as fringed minority groups
oThe “Marketplace of Ideas”
oA prerequisite for compromise in a democracy
oGrows with education
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