Chapter 18: Interest Groups and
Interest groups serve an important
role in helping people interact with their government. Chapter
18 focuses on interest groups and the variety of influences
that impact people's political decisions.
Section 1 describes how
interest groups influence political decisions. An interest
group is a group of people who share common goals and organize
to influence government. The role of the interest group is
to help bridge the gap between citizens and the government.
Section 2 discusses the
various methods interest groups use to influence public policy.
Most often their lobbyists make direct contact with lawmakers
or other government leaders. Interest groups also use financial
contributions to political action committees to support the
candidates that share their views.
Section 3 defines public
opinion and the factors that shape it. A major factor is political
socialization, which includes the influences of home and family,
schools, peer groups, and mass media.
Section 4 explains how public
officials gauge public opinion. Their sources of information
on public opinion range from party organizations to electronic
media. However, more and more candidates, businesses, and
other organizations are looking to scientific polling to gauge