In this course, we have studied a set of six subjects on public opinion that bear greatly on how
our current American political and social crisis of division, rancor, and (in various forms) civil
unrest has developed. Six of the seven modules in the course deal with substantive elements
related to this crisis. (The seventh module, Module 2, dealt with the methodological issues of
measuring public opinion.)
(1.) In Module 1, we saw that the trust of Americans in their institutions has declined to
historically low levels. Many Americans do not trust government, the news media, and many
other “establishment” authorities.
(2.) In Module 3, we saw that Americans had become highly ideologically polarized and that
polarization in the public had increased since the 1970s. Polarization of Americans was evident
in their self-declared ideological predispositions, in their issue positions, and in their political
behavior from straight-ticket voting to turning out to vote in elections.
(3.) In Module 4, we saw that Americans have long been highly partisan, but that partisanship
declined in the 1970s (dealignment) and then increased in the 1980s and remains currently quite
(4.) In Module 5, we saw that measures (the least-liked measure) of Americans’ support for the
principle of political tolerance has not increased over time. Americans are somewhat tolerant of
differences, but could be more so. Moreover, as in most things, actual tolerance in real life is less
than support for the principles of tolerance. It is one thing to say that everyone has “free speech.”
It is another to respect and protect free speech rights of those actually saying something you
(5.) In Module 6, we saw that the opinions of most Americans are highly stable (unchanging)
and that Americans protect their opinions from challenging information and opinions that
disagree with theirs. A variety of psychological defenses (selection effects, rationalization, and
confirmation bias) fend off challenging opinions. And most Americans only rarely discuss
political matters with those with divergent views. Social networks are generally very politically
(6.) In Module 7, we saw that dominant cultures intimidate those holding different views. From
the fear of isolation to suspected, implied, or even overt threats of retribution, there is a “spiral
of silence.” Those in the minority (or not “in authority”) keep quite about their dissent, making
the minority look smaller and the majority more dominating–and the spiral of silence continues
downward. It is essentially, “expression suppression” on route to “thought suppression.”
Your question is in two parts.
(1.) How are the six aspects of public opinion studied in this course related to one another? What
are the inter-relationships among: Political Trust, Ideological Polarization, Partisanship,
Tolerance, Psychological Defenses and Homogeneous Social Networks, and the Intimidating
Effect of Dominant Public Opinion?
(2.) In what ways did these six aspects of Public Opinion lead to the current American political
and social crisis? Which were most important to causing the especially severe levels of political
conflict in America today? And are there any other aspects of public opinion or other
circumstances (beyond the 6 aspects) responsible for the unusual contentiousness?
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||9||Style||APA|
Impacts of Public Opinion on Current American Political and Social Crisis
Americans have the power and the will to distract the government with a view that they are advocating for the best practices they need without causing any harm and disorder. There are various indicators that the contrary affects the effectiveness of public opinion in American governance today. The government has been declining to accept that there is considerable distress according to how state bodies respond to public interests, thus diminishing the power of democratic right of the Americans in expressing their ideologies effectively. The economy of the U.S government is reasonably performing above average and satisfying the trust that a substantial number of Americans quest for progress through public opinion. The interrelationship between various aspects of public opinion in America is that they have a coincidence interest and conflicting parts in advocating for a free and democratic state. This paper discusses how Political Trust, Ideological Polarization, Partisanship, Tolerance, Psychological Defenses and Homogeneous Social Networks, and the Intimidating Effect of Dominant Public Opinion, have been interrelated in the state. Additionally, the study will also expand on how public opinion has caused political and social crises. These will evaluate the circumstance under which they lead to either of the effects in the U.S.
Interrelationships between the Six Aspects Public Opinion
Political trust and Homogeneous Social Networks: The role of the news media in providing political information is justified to offer real-time relevant information. Unfortunately, not all newscasts are truthful or factual. Many news stations use gossip or opinions (Elisabeth 1991) to persuade their audiences. Certain funding or political affiliations are evident when one focuses on a particular newscast. The republican party’s views can be heard through one specific news channel, while the democratic views can be heard on another. Politicians and others try to shape the political news in several ways. Money goes a long way, but so do the concepts of ethos, logos, and pathos. Politicians often play the “guilt” card to persuade a certain demographic into voting for them in a campaign. For instance, parents are a huge demographic. In this case, a politician can speak about the safety of children by using a frightening metaphor to imply that children are – in fact – not as safe as they should be due to the political relationship that exists amongst American leaders. After the metaphor, a politician can throw in, “If you vote for me, I promise to make America safe for our children.” Boom! Now a large portion of the parents in the country may feel persuaded to vote for this kind of political candidate. Political trust in the state has been deviated to different dimensions because of the differences in ideological views aired in the social media houses and platforms.
Homogeneous Social Networks and Partisanship: Homogeneous social networks have also influenced people in several ways. For example, many social network stars are still followed by the same people who followed them when they first started. The audience that stays on the journey with the same member of the social networks media (example: a certain health bill) is probably more likely to be persuaded by the political statements made by the most substantial political person. A strong audience following almost guarantees a solid persuasion to the partisans. The social networks and the media’s role in setting up a political agenda is establishing specific ideas or concepts that will spark audience members to listen and possibly contribute. Highly controversial topics may be brought up, but in more of the tone of a leading question – to sway the conversation in the desired path of the host.
Ideological Polarization and Tolerance: According to Evans (2020), people participate in the political process by voting, attending rallies, listening to talk shows, watching the news, online polls (separate from the franchise), even not voting. These are exercises of their freedom. It is strongly related to what the public opinion depicts: no citizen should be influenced to vote by any ideological setup (Elisabeth 1991); instead, they should do as they feel safe and essential to them in the political arena. An American is not compromised to turnout to any ideological polarization on the basis of how many people from specific demographics/ backgrounds come to the designated voting booths to vote for policies/ elections/ etc. Factors that affect a voter turnout could be the tolerance to public Opinion’s response from its effectiveness or the idea that one vote will not make a difference.” Many people in the country did not agree with or feel comfortable with either of the presidential candidates for the term’s election. Though some people decided to participate and choose the candidate or a policy of their choice, many people did not participate in various bills. Policies are evaluated by several things, such as credentials, expertise, policy positions, financial background, etc.
Psychological Defenses and Political Trust: Interest public activity is democratic because it concerns the principles of democracy. Democracy calls for representations in the government (Garza & Vidal‐Correa 2019), an affiliation, psychological test, political trust and action with an interest group to fall under a democratic category. It allows Americans to hold an organized system to provide a majority of people with a space to show interest in a particular group. However, interest group activity could also be viewed as “undemocratic” because it is often one-sided towards a specific group; and will not hear those of the other side. For instance, think of an interest group for the opposing interest of public advocacy; they wouldn’t just let a democratic situation into their meeting without serious interviewing or questioning depicting lower psychological influence in the political process. Democracies should be fair/ equal; therefore, interest group activity could be taken for democratic and undemocratic associations.
The Intimidating Effect of Dominant Public Opinion: The complexity of the dominant public opinion to intimidate the other opinions comes from the influence of the heavy political weight behind the dominances. These cause undesirable execution of unreliable public policies; according to Garza & Vidal‐Correa (2019), the psychological defense has induced unnecessary alterations in public opinions. The majority of the dominant political instabilities have a strong ability over others. People of higher class social status have been at the forefront in advocating for policies while the lower class citizens remain dormant. These have had a severe impact where public policies will be upheld without the will of the ordinary citizen. The result in this will be uneven decisions that conflict with the interests of the public since the developmental technologies will work to favour the wealthy citizens leaving the less fortunate at risks.
However, many times, people of the U.S could not stand either policy in place (Elisabeth 1991) and decided not to participate in the opinion poll because of ideological and homogenous social media influences. This affects public policies because it makes the policy less accurate and shows the lack of those who identify as patriots. On the other hand, in connection to the discomfort with political and ideological policies, some people believe that one vote – their vote in particular – does not matter (Garza & Vidal‐Correa 2019) and will not affect the outcome of the procedure. Unfortunately, many people of all ages have this concept. It is incredible to think that if it were a law that every American citizen did participate in an opinion – it could change the country reputation by shocking standards. Political parties play roles of influence and persuasion in voting and policy adoption. People will stand outside the booths, put signs all over towns, the list goes on. Political parties put in just as much effort – if not more – than the function of the public policy interest to persuade the country in the “right” direction.
How the six aspects [of Public Opinion] lead to the current American political and social crisis
The causal factor of the state of the American political instabilities has been ascertained to political distrust, differences in news gossip, poor psychological defenses, and exemplary non-tolerance to ideological polarization (Elisabeth 1991) been long challenging other neighbouring states in the united states. The power to contribute and influence a political process without considering the impacts such as the citizens’ business losses and instabilities in investments. Business progress impacts public policy (Diana 2006) and government profit delegated investments. An example of an enterprise participating in activities that influence public policies consists of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the national association of manufacturers that have caused imbalances in social association to advocate for public interests.
Public opinions and preferences substantially impact public policy over a given period. The shift towards a sustainable businesses environment changes public policy through national electoral politics (Garza & Vidal‐Correa 2019) in situations where citizens gather and take actions, affecting government decisions. This helps in stabilising political ideologies for developed countries like U.S. Modern scientific information discoveries such as new climate change findings and human business also influence public policy. American democratic system is responsive to public opinion as showcased in policy preferences (Elisabeth 1991), ideological polarization, and evaluation of government and officeholders.
Citizens’ evaluation of specific policies in government influences the willingness to participate in incumbent public opinion (Evans,2020) captures the public support for increasing the government’s role in society on a particular problem. Surveys conducted in the last several years show that Americans are concerned with the same matters such as terror in Iraq, immigration, social issues like gay rights, and global warming.
In conclusion, public Opinion remains to be a very vital tool in the presence of the current uncertainties affecting the whole global economy. However, citizens should consider the directional delicacy of an opinion before supporting it or rejecting it. Technological advancement also affects the public Opinion on politics and public affairs as technology is significantly evolving; hence it impacts the environment in which business operates. Technology advancement often triggered by market and business opportunity are also said to influence public policy. Current and very affordable technologies have changed the public’s willingness to support and second ideological policies in America. Preferences have intense consequences on the public Opinion and help to improve the business factor. Changing public policy should be through a national poll process where citizens are willing to take actions without causing an undesired disruption in governments’ functions. Modern scientific innovations have resulted in discoveries that cause alteration in public Opinions, such as new findings of climate change and the human business also influence public policy and should not be disregarded.
Diana C. Mutz, 2006. Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy, Cambridge.
Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. 1982(1991). The Spiral of Silence: Public Opinion–Our Social Skin, second edition. Chicago
Evans, C. Q. (2020). Public Opinion on the Environment and Policy in Latin America (Doctoral dissertation).
Garza & Vidal‐Correa, Fernanda. (2019). Public Opinion Surveys and USA Foreign Policy Towards Latin America in the Second World War. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 38(4), 503-516.