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Additional resources for How It Works: Brain Dump, Issue 35
The parallel between science policy and foreign policy is both interesting and appropriate for this analysis. Both science policy and foreign policy are complex topics that require a good deal of background knowledge to follow on a day-to day basis, and both have enormous import to the welfare of the American people. A STRATIFIED MODEL OF POLICY FORMULATION Given the apparent contradiction between the expectations of democratic theory and low levels of citizen interest in, and understanding of, foreign policy, Ga22 A Conceptual Framework 23 Decision-makers — Policy leaders Figure 3: A Stratified Model of Policy Formulation briel Almond, in 1950, published a basic analysis in his The American People and Foreign Policy.
Respondents were asked to indicate their level of interest in a set of nine issues^ and to estimate their own knowledgeability about those issue areas. Following the concept of attentiveness described above, an individual had to declare him self to be "very interested" and ''very well informed" about an issue to be classified as attentive to that issue. The subjective nature of the information judgment is particularly important. It is the individual's perception of the ade quacy of his information that will affect his disposition toward participation, not an objective extemal measure.
At a second level of participation, about a quarter of the adult population reported voting in local, state, or national elections but indicated no other po litical activity and no contacting of decision makers. According to the 1979 and 1981 data, many of the vote-only group were not attentive to any of the issues, although a significant segment was attentive to one or more issue areas'^. " Over half of the population reported some type of political activity beyond voting: wearing a political button, at tending a rally, persuading others to vote for a specific candidate, contributing funds to a political campaign, or contacting decision makers on a policy-related matter.