Interests Groups Chapter 9

The Role of Interests Groups
• They seek to influence the
making and content of
public policy.
• They are sometimes called
pressure groups and often
special interests or
organized interests.
• There are various types of
groups they include ethnic,
racial, religious, and other
groups compete for and
share in the exercise of
political power in this
Political Parties and Interest Groups
• Interests groups are made up
of people who unite for some
political purpose.
• Three types:
• 1-Parties nominate candidates
for public office, interests groups
do not.
• 2- Political parties are chiefly
concerned in winning elections
and controlling government.
• 3- Political parties are
necessarily concerned with the
whole range of public affairs,
with everything of concern to
Interest Groups: Good or Bad?
• Early Views
• Deep suspicion
• What function do these groups perform?
• Valuable Functions of Interests Groups
• 1st- stimulate interests in public affairs- issues that concern the people at large.
• 2nd- They represent their shared attitudes not their geography.
• 3rd- They provide detailed information to the government.
• 4th- Vehicles for political participation
• 5th- Perform a checks and balances on the political process. Keep close eye on
public agencies and officials.
• 6th- Compete with one another in the public arena.
• Criticisms?
• Many of them push their own agenda
• May not speak for who they claim to speak for.
• Use tactics such as bribery, threats of revenge, and so on.
An American Tradition
• No one knows how
many interest groups
there are.
• Each one is an
interest group
whenever it tries to
influence the actions
of government in
order to promote its
own goals and
special interests.
Groups Based on Economic Interests
• Business Groups
• This group has long looked to government to promote and protect its
interests. Merchants, Creditors, and Property Owners.
• Labor Groups
• Labor Union press for government policies that will benefit their
• Agricultural Groups
• From the beginning, most Americans lived off farms. Now these days that
is not the case. Farm organizations sometimes find themselves at odds
with one another.
• Professional Groups
• These groups are defined by medicine, law, and teaching. Maintain
organizations to protect and promote their interests.
Other Interests Groups/ Public Interest
• Groups that Promote Causes
• They exist to promote an idea or cause
• ALCU. National Right to Life, Abortion groups, Women’s rights groups.
• Organizations that promote the Welfare of Certain groups.
• They promote the welfare of certain segments of the population among the
most powerful and best known.
• Religious Organizations
• They also try to influence public policy in several important areas.
• Jewish and Catholic churches have special interest groups.
• Public Interests Group
• Is an interest group that seeks to institute certain public policies of benefit
to all or most people in this country.
Influencing Public Opinion
• Interests groups reach out to the public to
accomplish one or all of 3 goals:
• 1- To supply the public with information an
organization thinks the people should have.
• 2- To build positive image for a group.
• 3- To promote a particular public policy.
• This is a technique of
persuasion aimed at
individual or group
• Propaganda is spread
through newspapers,
face-book, twitter,
magazines, radio,
movies, billboards,
and pamphlets.
Influencing Parties and Elections
• Interests groups and political parties are different.
• They exist in the same arena, but their paths sometimes cross.
• Interests groups thus try and influence the behavior of
political parties.
• Some groups keep close ties with one another.
• Most hope to secure the support of both of them.
• Several urge their members to become active in party affairs and try
to win posts in party organizations.
• Is defined as those activities by
which groups pressures are brought
to bear on legislators and the
legislative process.
• Lobbyists At Work
• They used certain techniques to
persuade legislators and other policy
makers to share their points of view.
• Lobby Regulation
• Abuses occur now and then
• False or misleading testimony, bribery,
and other unethical pressures are not
common, but they do happen.
• Federal Regulation of Lobbying ActRequires registration of those
individuals and groups who collected
or spent money for the principle
purpose of influencing legislation.