Interest groups and public opinion


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  • Discussion preparing interest groups to political parties. Look at “Pleading for Parks” at the bottom of page 504. Read the short segment and ask students to respond verbally to the question put forth.
  • The group might promote an individual’s economic self-interest. For example, labor unions work to secure better wages and benefits for their members. Another example—American Association of Retired Persons (a senior citizen group) works for higher Social Security benefits. Example—the Sierra Club members work to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Members have strong beliefs about the value of maintaining our environment. Example—a person who joins a farm organization may simple enjoy the company of other farmers.
  • Business and Labor—many interest groups are concerned with economic issues such as taxes, food prices, housing, inflation, unemployment, and so on. (Examples=National Association of Manufacturers and AFL-CIO) Agricultural groups represent the interests of Farmers (Ex=the Grange) Professional Associations—include members of a particular profession; might set standards, influence training processes, and also influence govt policy on issues important to them Sierra club and other groups concerned with protection of wildlife and natural resources as well as the environment. Public Interest groups—believe they work to accomplish policy in the best interests of all Americans; example=Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen Inc. devotes itself to consumer and public safety issues affecting the general population
  • ***Look at the Political Cartoon on page 511 “The Power of Money”
  • Interest groups and public opinion

    1. 1. Interest Groups andPublic OpinionLocal, State, and NationalGovernment
    2. 2. Interest GroupsAn interest group is a group of people who share common goals and organize to influence government.These groups spend a great deal of money and put a lot of effort into persuading government officials to support bills or policies the group feels will be beneficial.
    3. 3. Interest Groups are NOT PoliticalParties ...They do not nominate candidates. …Only concerned with a few specific issues and do not try to gain members with different opinions. …Organized on the basis of common values rather than on geographic location.
    4. 4. Why belong to an Interest Group? Economic self-interest Beliefs, values, and attitudes Social reasons ***Most who join tend to be from upper income levels.
    5. 5. Types of Interest Groups Business and Labor ( NAM and AFL-CIO) Agricultural groups represent farmers. (Grange) Professional Associations Environmental groups Public Interest groups
    6. 6. Major Special Interest Groups National Association for the Advancement of Colored People American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization American Medical Association http://www.ama- National Education Association
    7. 7. Purpose and Methodsof Interest Groups Provide Americans with additional Representation Seek to Inform the Public and Officials of Issues  Letter Writing Campaigns  Media Campaigns
    8. 8. Checking for Understanding How are interest groups different from political parties? What methods do interest groups use to influence public policy? Why are interest groups more effective in influencing the government than are individual citizens?
    9. 9. Lobbying/Lobbyist Lobbying is the process of making direct contact with government leaders in attempt to influence policy. Lobbyists are the representatives of interest groups who conduct such work.
    10. 10. Political Action Committees(PACs) Another vehicle for interest groups to influence government is through PACs. Organizations specifically designed to collect money and provide financial support for a political candidate. Pros and Cons?