By John Hood • Guest Columnist
I have written a syndicated column on politics and public policy for North Carolina newspapers since 1986. Have I influenced how readers think about the issues I discuss? I certainly hope so, at least to some extent.
But there are plenty of smart people, scholars of public opinion and political behavior, who question whether editorials, columns, and op-eds matter. Some argue that political attitudes are so deeply felt, so bound up with partisan affiliation and personal experience, that they rarely change in response to what people read. This is especially true, the argument goes, for the political insiders who wield a disproportionate influence on policy outcomes.