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Politicians Don't Pander : Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness (00 Edition)

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Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

Public opinion polls are everywhere. Journalists report their results without hesitation, and political activists of all kinds spend millions of dollars on them, fueling the widespread assumption that elected officials "pander" to public opinionand#8212;that they tailor their policy decisions to the results of polls.

In this provocative and engagingly written book, the authors argue that the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, when not facing election, contemporary presidents and members of Congress routinely ignore the public's policy preferences and follow their own political philosophies, as well as those of their party's activists, their contributors, and their interest group allies. Politicians devote substantial time, effort, and money to tracking public opinion, not for the purposes of policymaking, but to change public opinionand#8212;to determine how to craft their public statements and actions to win support for the policies they and their supporters want.

Taking two recent, dramatic episodesand#8212;President Clinton's failed health care reform campaign, and Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America"and#8212;as examples, the authors show how both used public opinion research and the media to change the public's mind. Such orchestrated displays help explain the media's preoccupation with political conflict and strategy and, the authors argue, have propelled levels of public distrust and fear of government to record highs.

Revisiting the fundamental premises of representative democracy, this accessible book asks us to reexamine whether our government really responds to the broad public or to the narrower interests and values of certain groups. And with the 2000 campaign season heating up, Politicians Don't Pander could not be more timely.

"'Polling has turned leaders into followers,' laments columnist Marueen Dowd of The New York Times. Well, that's news definitely not fit to print say two academics who have examined the polls and the legislative records of recent presidents to see just how responsive chief executives are to the polls. Their conclusion: not much. . . . In fact, their review and analyses found that public opinion polls on policy appear to have increasingly less, not more, influence on government policies."and#8212;Richard Morin, The Washington Post

Synopsis:

In this provocative and engagingly written book, the authors argue that politicians seldom tailor their policy decisions to "pander" to public opinion. In fact, they say that when not facing election, contemporary presidents and members of Congress routinely ignore the public's preferences and follow their own political philosophies. 37 graphs.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [387]-411) and index.

About the Author

Lawrence R. Jacobs is the director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.

Robert Y. Shapiro is associate professor of political science at Columbia University.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

Part I. Political Motivations, the Public, and the Media

1. The Myth of Pandering and Theories of Political Motivation

2. Crafted Talk and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness

Part II. Health Care Reform

3. The New Democrats and the Crafting of Public Opinion

4. Storming the Bully Pulpit

Part III. The Media, Public Opinion, and Health Care

5. Political Cycles of Press Coverage

6. Loud Messages, Loud Voices

7. Talking Heads, Cautious Citizens

Part IV. The Cycle of Crafted Talk

8. Dissolution of the Republican Revolution

9. Dilemmas of Democracy

10. Disrupting the Cycle

Appendixes

Notes

References and Additional Sources

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226389837
Author:
Jacobs, Lawrence R.
Author:
Shapiro, Robert Y.
Author:
Jacobs, Lawrence R.
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Location:
Chicago, IL. :
Subject:
General
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
Elections
Subject:
Public opinion
Subject:
U.S. Government
Subject:
Politicians
Subject:
Political leadership
Subject:
Political planning
Subject:
Representative government and representation
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
Political Process - Elections
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
Politicians -- United States.
Subject:
Public opinion -- United States.
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion (Paperback)
Series Volume:
no. 30
Publication Date:
20000631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
37 graphs
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Journalism » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Politicians Don't Pander : Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness (00 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 448 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226389837 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this provocative and engagingly written book, the authors argue that politicians seldom tailor their policy decisions to "pander" to public opinion. In fact, they say that when not facing election, contemporary presidents and members of Congress routinely ignore the public's preferences and follow their own political philosophies. 37 graphs.
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