Interest Groups

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Interest groups play a major role in politics across the country. People join these groups to show their interest in politics as well as speak their opinions on certain issues. Interest groups primary function is to influence government actions and policy.

Some of the most influential interest groups are general business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, schoolteachers' organizations like the NEA, utility companies and associations such as electric, gas, cable, telephone, and water, and lawyers and health care organizations. These groups tend to be well represented and for the most part, get the attention of state legislators while speaking. The more diverse a state economy is, the less powerful interest groups will be. Other factors that impact the influence of interest groups are voter turnout - the lower the turnout the better, staff of the legislature - the smaller, less paid means less professional and easily influenced by lobbyists, and session - the shorter the better (leaves no time for research).

Interest groups have many tactics they use to try to make the legislator to see things their way. Electioneering is the most effective and expensive method. It is usually the first chosen. This method is done through campaign contributions, endorsements, and volunteering in the effort to see that the candidate sympathetic to your cause is elected to office. Lobbying involves face to face contact or verbal/written persuasion. The most effective lobbyists are former members of government, however are usually very expensive. These individuals could be worth the pay due to their wealth of connections and technical know how. Another tactic used is persuasion of public opinion. This method uses media campaigns such as TV, radio, newspaper and magazine ads. This method can be very effective, however it is extremely costly. Litigation is using the court system...