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Thread: Study: You Have 'Near-Zero' Impact on U.S. Policy. Review and open access

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    Study: You Have 'Near-Zero' Impact on U.S. Policy. Review and open access

    A startling new political science study concludes that corporate interests and mega wealthy individuals control U.S. policy to such a degree that "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

    The startling study, titled "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens," is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics and was authored by Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin Page. An early draft can be found here.
    https://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/G...s%203-7-14.pdf 271 KB 42 pages

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...-on-U-S-Policy
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    Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, Majoritarian Pluralism,

    "Abstract
    Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics – which can be characterized
    as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, and two types of
    interest group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism – offers different
    predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average
    citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented.

    A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors,
    but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against
    each other within a single statistical model. This paper reports on an effort to do so, using a
    unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

    Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business
    interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens
    and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide
    substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased
    Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism."
    https://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/G...s%203-7-14.pdf
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    "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
    -- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
    (letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
    Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)

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    Does not quite explain Tea Party candidates getting elected to national office from time to time. Which doe directly affect US government policy.

    The only "poll/survey" that counts is the results of the vote, everything else is being published for those who make a living publishing. Getting published = more money.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Riiight. I noticed that rightward swing NOT! There is not a spit of difference among the progressive left and right.
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    Look a little harder, like with a magnifying glass, house of reps. Lots of stuff being passed, by them that is.

    As far a "security" related issues, microscope is required.

    I judge success based on what has not been passed vs. what has been passed.

    Myopic.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Yawn..........

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    "Abstract

    Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business
    interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens
    and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide
    substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased
    Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism."
    https://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/G...s%203-7-14.pdf
    Old news to anyone who has really thought about it at all. Big money has always been in control of society from the dawn of mankind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RK3369 View Post
    Old news to anyone who has really thought about it at all. Big money has always been in control of society from the dawn of mankind.
    Idle thinking doesn't count unless it is memorialized. We can all say I knew that after the fact. The one-eyed man is the one about whom it is said that he wrote that!
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    Testing Theoretical Predictions - with convenient rather than purposeful data.

    A common accusation is of bias in data design, avoided by use of convenient related but not selected data.

    What makes possible an empirical effort of this sort is the existence of a unique data set, compiled over many years by one of us (Gilens) for a different but related purpose: for estimating the influence upon public policy of “affluent” citizens, poor citizens, and those in the middle of the income distribution.

    Gilens and a small army of research assistants gathered data on a large, diverse set of policy cases: 1,779 instances between 1981 and 2002 in which a national survey of the general public asked a favor/oppose question about a proposed policy change. A total of 1,923 cases met four criteria: dichotomous pro/con responses, specificity about policy, relevance to federal government decisions, and categorical rather than conditional phrasing. Of those 1,923 original cases, 1,779 cases also met the criteria of providing income breakdowns for respondents, not involving a Constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court ruling (which might entail a quite different policy making process), and involving a clear, as opposed to partial or ambiguous, actual presence or absence of policy change. These 1,779 cases do not constitute a sample from the universe of all possible policy alternatives (this is hardly conceivable), but we see them as particularly relevant to assessing the public’s influence on policy. The included policies are not restricted to the narrow Washington “policy agenda.” At the same time – since they were seen as worth asking poll questions about – they tend to concern matters of relatively high salience, about which it is plausible that average citizens may have real opinions and may exert some political influence.
    Last edited by Nightmare; 08-13-2014 at 04:42 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RK3369 View Post
    Old news to anyone who has really thought about it at all. Big money has always been in control of society from the dawn of mankind.
    my bolding for emphasis

    problem being most Americans, especially young adults have/are graduating HS (70% +/- grad rate currently ~ 52% +/- for ppl of color) with a 7th grade reading capability so they couldn't even begin to read the article's abstract let alone understand and think about it or the body of the work.

    so while olde news, it falls on ears who can't think about the consequences.

    ipse
    Last edited by solus; 08-13-2014 at 04:55 PM.
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    Table 4. The Separate Policy Impact of Business-oriented and Mass-based Interest Grou

    Table 4. The Separate Policy Impact of Business-oriented and Mass-based Interest Groups
    Average citizens’ preferences .05 (.08)
    Economic elites’ preferences .78 (.08) ***
    Mass-based interest groups .24 (.07) ***
    Business interest groups .43 (.08)***


    N=1,779 R-sq=.07 ***p<.001 Note: All predictors are scaled to range from 0 to 1. The dependent variable is the policy outcome, coded 1 if the proposed policy change took place within four years of the survey date and 0 if it did not. Predictors are the logits of the imputed percent of respondents at the 50th (“average citizens”) or 90th (“economic elites”) income percentile that favor the proposed policy change, and the Net Interest Group Alignment Indices described in the text.
    Standard errors are asymptotically distribution-free, and all analyses reflect e
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    A startling new political science study concludes that corporate interests and mega wealthy individuals control U.S. policy to such a degree that "the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

    The startling study, titled "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens," is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics and was authored by Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin Page. An early draft can be found here.
    https://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/G...s%203-7-14.pdf 271 KB 42 pages

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...-on-U-S-Policy

    without reading it, I'm gonna say....

    This is funded (shadow-y) by the wealthy to further instill the myth that the general American populace can F-off, they don't count. Go back to your shantys, assembly lines, and cash registers, you peons!

    Or something conspiratorial like that.


    On the other hand, it's completely legit and doesn't tell us anything new. Getting standard form letters in response to contacted elected officials pretty much cements this theory. "Wait a minute. You mean to tell me you're too busy holding morning coffee meetings with out-of-towners, not reading legislation, sitting in committee meetings where nothing is ever done, and holding campaign fundraisers to even bother with a personal note? Not even from a staffer?"
    Last edited by mikeyb; 08-14-2014 at 12:09 PM.

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    I'm still of the opinion that politicians do not do a lot of things that they want to do because they are worried about getting a bullet in the back of the head.

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    What I've repeatedly written to my Congressmen over the years has repeatedly, if only occasionally, appeared in their own commentary, speeches on the hill, and in bills.

    Poll be damned.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    I'm still of the opinion that politicians do not do a lot of things that they want to do because they are worried about getting a bullet in the back of the head.
    I'm still of the opinion you're not exactly operating on all eight cylinders, are you? Perhaps three, with a fourth kicking in every five or six revolutions?
    Last edited by since9; 08-16-2014 at 11:13 AM.
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