The Changing American Mind: How and Why American Public Opinion Changed Between 1960 and 1988
Author: William G Mayer
This book is important reading for all who are interested in American politics and public opinion. It appendixes, which include the results of more than 250 survey questions that have been asked regularly of national samples over the last three decades, make it an indispensable reference source for everyone who studies or participates in American politics.
Suggesting that pundits often misinterpret evidence about public opinion, Mayer, a political scientist at Northeastern University, offers a thorough academic dissection of changes in several components of public opinion and reasons for such changes. He suggests that in nearly 30 years public opinion has shifted radically in some areas--moving to the left regarding race, women's roles, sexual mores and nuclear power, while moving to the right on crime and punishment. On other issues, such as religious belief and the causes of poverty, collective opinion has remained more or less constant. Social and demographic changes such as the growth of the Sun Belt, he argues, have had little effect on public opinion, though external events like the Tet Offensive have changed many minds. While intergenerational change leads to new attitudes on social and cultural issues such as race relations, it has had little effect on opinions about foreign policy and the economy. Mayer concludes that liberalism has lost touch with its populist roots, but his own evidence regarding generational change provides a caveat to his conclusion that to win, Democratic presidential candidates must moderate their views on social issues. (Dec.)
What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception
Author: Scott McClellan
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