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Public Opinion and Political Interests

By Larry M. Bartels


"... opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making." — Milton (1644: 31) This essay outlines a systematic methodology for imputing policy interests to political actors. Underlying interests are equated with "enlightened preferences, " which may differ from the preferences an actor actually expresses. Given some measure of "enlightenment, " the underlying interests of any specific individual are inferred from the observed pattern of expressed preferences among actors in similar social locations with varying degrees of enlightenment. The model is used to examine issues of false consciousness, class structure and group identity, representation, and "the public interest." Public Opinion and Political Interests

Year: 1996
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