The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans' Policy Preferences (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, May 27, 2010 - Social Science - 506 pages
2 Reviews
This monumental study is a comprehensive critical survey of
the policy preferences of the American public, and will be
the definitive work on American public opinion for some time
to come. Drawing on an enormous body of public opinion data,
Benjamin I. Page and Robert Y. Shapiro provide the richest
available portrait of the political views of Americans, from
the 1930's to 1990. They not only cover all types of
domestic and foreign policy issues, but also consider how
opinions vary by age, gender, race, region, and the like.

The authors unequivocally demonstrate that, notwithstanding fluctuations in the opinions of individuals,
collective public opinion is remarkably coherent: it
reflects a stable system of values shared by the majority of
Americans and it responds sensitively to new events,
arguments, and information reported in the mass media. While
documenting some alarming case of manipulation, Page and
Shapiro solidly establish the soundness and value of
collective political opinion. The Rational Public
provides a wealth of information about what we as a nation
have wanted from government, how we have changed our minds
over the years, and why.

For anyone interested in the short- and long-term trends
in Americans' policy preferences, or eager to learn what
Americans have thought about issues ranging from racial
equality to the MX missile, welfare to abortion, this book
offers by far the most sophisticated and detailed treatment
available.
  

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Review: The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans' Policy Preferences

User Review  - Steven Peterson - Goodreads

Are American voters irrational? Are they incapable of living up to the ideals of democratic citizens? Page and Shapiro are optimists. This book provides data to suggest that the public as a whole is ... Read full review

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Contents

2 The Myth of Capricious Change
37
3 Opinions about Social Issues
67
4 Economic Welfare
117
World War I1 and the Cold War
172
6 Vietnam Detente and the New Cold War
221
7 Parallel Publics
285
8 The Causes of Collective Opinion Change
321
9 Education and Manipulation of Public Opinion
355
10 Democracy Information and the Rational Public
383
Appendix to Figures
399
Notes
421
Bibliography
441
Index
467
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Benjamin I. Page, the Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University, is the author of several books, including Who Gets What From Government. Robert Y. Shapiro is associate professor of political science at Columbia University.

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