Interest groups
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Interest Groups. Duffy - Government. What are Interest Groups?. Groups that seek to influence public policy in ways that help their members Support policies that help Oppose policies that hurt Seek to… persuade policy makers Influence public opinion through education

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Interest Groups

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Interest groups

Interest Groups

Duffy - Government


What are interest groups

What are Interest Groups?

  • Groups that seek to influence public policy in ways that help their members

    • Support policies that help

    • Oppose policies that hurt

  • Seek to…

    • persuade policy makers

    • Influence public opinion through education

    • Advocate needs / wants of their group


Who makes up interest groups

Who Makes Up Interest Groups?

  • Virtually EVERYONE has an interest in influencing public policy

  • Examples

    • Doctors

    • Students

    • Parents

  • Most people, however, aren’t directly involved in an interest group


Types of interest groups

Types of Interest Groups

  • Economic Interest

    • Promote the economic interest of their members

    • Ex: business, labor, trade organizations (NFIB, AFL-CIO, Chemical Industry Council, etc.)

  • Public Interest

    • Focuses on topics affecting general public, like education, the environment, politics

    • Ex: Sierra Club, ACLU, Common Cause, AARP, etc.


Types of interest groups1

Types of Interest Groups

  • Professional Groups

    • Advocate for people in a particular profession

    • Ex: Ill. Education Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, American Medical Association, etc.

  • Ideological Groups

    • Promote policies based on a set of core political or religious beliefs

    • Ex: Christian Coalition, Federalist Society, etc.


Types of interest groups2

Types of Interest Groups

  • Single Issue Groups

    • Focus on one narrow topic, like immigration, abortion or drunk driving

    • Ex: MADD, SADD, NARAL, Family Research Council, etc.


How do interest groups work

How Do Interest Groups Work?

  • Lobbying

    • IGs hire lobbyists to meet with members of the government (Executive, Legislative, Judicial) to discuss group’s issues, concerns

    • Lobbyists say their job is to provide information to decision makers

    • Problem: BIAS - info provided is chosen to persuade audience to take favorable view for that IG


How do interest groups work1

How Do Interest Groups Work?

  • Endorsing Candidates

    • During elections, IG may endorse, or officially support, a candidate

    • Support or opposition based on voting history, stance of candidate on issues of import to IG

    • IGs help candidates with money and encourage their members to vote

  • Raising Money

    • Raise $ from members / supporters to influence gov’t

    • $ raised that go to candidates must go through Political Action Committees, or PACs


Problems involving interest groups

Problems Involving Interest Groups

  • Amount of influence in government

    • “Buying” candidates with campaign donations

    • “Revolving door” of elected officials, congressional staff into lobbying groups

  • Use of propaganda, to influence the ill-informed

  • Are the interests of IGs in the interest of the public?

  • Who represents the public?


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