#13 "Public Opinion" / Thomas E. Patterson / Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University






PART III MASS POLITICS 13TH SESSION MASS POLITICS: Public Opinion Public opinion has a powerful and yet inexact influence on elected officials. They risk …

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#13 "Public Opinion" / Thomas E. Patterson / Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

PART III MASS POLITICS
13TH SESSION
MASS POLITICS: Public Opinion
Public opinion has a powerful and yet inexact influence on elected officials. They risk their careers if they ignore it. Yet its influence is not easy to quantify and there are many issues where public opinion barely comes into play.
This session will examine the attributes of public opinion and explore its impact on the decisions of policymakers—a subject that has been closely studied by political scientists. The session will also explain the theory and practice of polling, which has become the primary method of assessing public opinion. Gun control policy will be used to illustrate key points about the nature and influence of public opinion.
Required reading
Thomas E. Patterson, We the People, 12th edition, ch. 6