Public opinion, elites, and democracy

Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 12 (4):501-528 (1998)
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Abstract

Abstract Building on Philip Converse's understanding of public opinion, John Zaller sees the evidence for the public's ?nonattitudes? as reflecting individuals? ambivalence concerning political issues. Because neither individuals nor the public collectively have what Zaller would call real attitudes, he concludes that the effectiveness of democracy rests on competition among intellectual and political elites. In truth, however, the public has many real attitudes that depend heavily on elite leadership, in ways that Converse did not initially emphasize but that are consistent with both his observations and Zaller's model of mass opinion. The quality of the public's attitudes are, however, a point of serious contention.

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Citations of this work

Ignorance as a Starting Point: From Modest Epistemology to Realistic Political Theory.Jeffrey Friedman - 2007 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 19 (1):1-22.
Ignorance as a starting point: From modest epistemology to realistic political theory.Jeffrey Friedman - 2007 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 19 (1):1-22.
The political education of John Zaller.Larry M. Bartels - 2012 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 24 (4):463-488.
Rational Democracy, Deliberation, and Reality.Manfred Prisching - 2010 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 22 (2-3):185-225.

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References found in this work

The nature of belief systems in mass publics (1964).Philip E. Converse - 2006 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 18 (1-3):1-74.
What is public opinion?Eric R. A. N. Smith - 1996 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 10 (1):95-105.

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