Tides of Consent Paper

Words: 1018
Pages: 5

In American politics, public opinion is mostly a latent force that typically has no important bearing on national decision making unless citizens become unusually attentive to politics. Many citizens are uninformed, which leads to inconsistent opinions. In Tides of Consent, there are many factors that shift public opinion. Some changes are fast and responsive, such as spikes in presidential approval, and some changes are slow, and occur in increments that may be overlooked. Public opinion in American politics is meaningless individually, but aggregately, public opinion is meaningful. Gradual, tidal opinion change is the type of change that is most important. Over the long term, what the public wants from the government is relativistic. …show more content…
Usually approval and trust in the government would be portrayed as two separate matters, but often they are indicators of the same phenomenon. Important in the public’s approval and trust are its views about the economy (139). If the economy is in good position, then presidential approval, and government trust will increase. Another important aspect in approval is when the country is facing a national crisis. During the time of this, the aggregate rallies around the president and the approval of the president spikes up for a relatively short period of time (145). Another way of assessing public opinion through president approval is a process called equilibration. Equilibration is the idea that approval never gets too high, or too low, it always stays around equilibrium of 50 percent (144). The aggregate notices the good or bad change in approval, and eventually brings the approval back to equilibrium after a short period of time. Public opinion is the central mover in American politics. However, it is not because of an idealized vision of politics. To most American individuals, majority of the time, politics matters very little. Sometimes, people pay a little bit of attention but those who don’t, will have their movements and actions cancel out in the aggregate because they lack a consistent pattern (159). Also, the highly informed- the “passionate”- affect public opinion minimally because their opinions are strong and