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United States Government
Unit 2: Participating in Government
CH. 18: INTEREST GROUPS & PUBLIC OPINION
A. Power of Interest Groups
 Members of interest groups share common goals and
organize to influence government.
 Interest groups draw their strength from the
financial resources, numbers, and expertise of their
members.
B. Leadership & Membership
 Interest groups help promote their member’s
economic self-interests, beliefs, values, or attitudes
to help create group unity.
C. Types of Interest Groups
 Business: National Association of Manufactures (NAM)
 Labor: AFL-CIO
 Agricultural: American Farm Bureau Federation, the
Grange
 Medical: American Medical Association (AMA)
 Legal: American Bar Association
 Environmental: Sierra Club
D. The Work of Lobbyists
 Most interest groups use lobbying, or making direct
contact with lawmakers or other government
leaders, to influence government policy.
 Lobbyists can:
1. Provide lawmakers with useful information
supporting an interest group’s position
2. Give testimony before Congress
3. Help draft bills
E. The Nature of Public Opinion
 Public opinion includes the ideas and attitudes of
diverse citizens.
 Different groups hold different opinions on almost
every issue.
 Interest groups and polls help inform government
officials and public opinion.
F. Political Socialization
 Political socialization involves learned political
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beliefs and attitudes.
The parent’s political party often becomes the party
of their children.
Schools also play an important part in political
socialization.
Close friends, religious groups, clubs, work groups,
and economic and social status influence political
socialization.
Mass media, especially television, can directly affect
political socialization.
G. Political Culture
 Political culture is a set of shared values and beliefs.
 Belief in and support for liberty and freedom, the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights, private property,
and individual achievement are part of United States
political culture.
H. Ideology & Public Policy
 Ideology is a set beliefs about life, culture,
government, and society.
 A liberal believes the national government should be
very active in helping individuals and communities
promote health, justice, and equal opportunity.
 A conservative believes the role of government in
society should be very limited and that individuals
should be responsible for their own well-being.