Degree Year

1981

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Government

Advisor(s)

Harlan Garnett Wilson
Jere W. Bruner

Keywords

Election, Behavior, Downsian, Pluralist

Abstract

Considerations of theories of political education and socialization also played an important role in the development of the analysis presented here. Knowing why different groups of citizens use different groups of criteria when evaluating presidential aspirants would be helpful to the continued development of theories of the role of education in shaping the future of a polity. Existing theories of political education already provide insights into the possible pitfalls of a society which stresses the blind acceptance of authority. While the existence of an apathetic group is seen as necessary the ability of an elite to mobilize such a group could be very dangerous If the mass media is capable of mobilizing apathetic, disenfranchised, and disinterested groups of citizens it could be a powerful weapon in the hands of a potential fascist.

The possibility that a significant group of citizens choose presidential candidates on the basis of criteria other than interest group competition has profound impact on pluralist conceptions of the role of elections in U.S. democracy What if people who are neither apathetic misinformed, nor irrational choose to vote for the candidate whom they believe to be the most honest, experienced, intelligent leader? If such a group does exist, what impact is it having on the outcome of elections?

Considerations of theory provided insights into the empirical study of election behavior, and the empirical study of election behavior has the potential to provide insights into theory Thus, the arguments presented here are specific and limited in scope; the reasons for presenting them are as numerous and diverse as are the fields of political science.

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