The dynamics of public opinion in America over the last three decades

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1. Introduction     1
Part 1: How Public Opinion Changed     7
2. Studying Changes in Public Opinion     9
3. Social and Cultural Issues     19
4. Foreign Policy     45
5. Welfare, Regulation, and the Economy     75
6. How Public Opinion Changed     111

Part 2: Why Public Opinion Changed     135
7. Generational Replacement     141
8. Social and Demographic Change     191
9. The Impact of External Events     229
10. A Framework for Analyzing Media Effects     277
11. Why Public Opinion Changed     299

Part 3: Epilogue     313
12. Public Opinion and the Liberal Malaise     315

Part 4: Appendixes     341
Appendix A. A Guide to Data Sources     343
Appendix B. Tables for Chapter 3     357
Appendix C. Tables for Chapter 4     407
Appendix D. Tables for Chapter 5     441
Index     495


Have Americans become more or less tolerant of racial discrimination? More or less supportive of abortion? Is a new tax revolt underway? Did a "new conservative mood" dominate elections and policy discussions in the early 1980s?

Popular and academic discussions about the past and future of American politics often turn on the question of whether and how public opinion has changed. Yet for all the talk about such matters, observes political scientist William G. Mayer, there is surprisingly little hard evidence on many of these questions. The Changing American Mind is designed to fill that gap, by presenting a comprehensive history of American public opinion over the last three decades: how it changed, why it changed, and what difference that makes for American politics.

The Changing American Mind is important reading for all who are interested in American politics and public opinion. Its appendixes, which include the results of more than 250 survey questions that have been asked regularly of national samples over the last three decades, make it an indispensable reference source for everyone who studies or participates in American politics.