Managing Florida's coastal resources: technical complexity and public attitudes
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Managing Florida's coastal resources: technical complexity and public attitudes

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    This project reports findings from a statewide survey designed to investigate the attitudes and knowledge level of three sets of policy process actors--the general public, the activist public and government officials. The central concern revolves around how democratic processes are affected when the general public lacks the requisite information, and which parties are knowledgeable enough to act in the public's behalf. Florida residents (1700) representing the general public, an activist subset, and elected or appointed public officials were surveyed. Regardless of position, Floridians registered concern about environmental problems in coastal areas. Disagreement on management mechanisms does, however, exist. The findings also show that the general public does not seek out new knowledge, but relies heavily on television and newspapers. Moreover, survey respondents were found to accord the greatest trust in sources of information that reconfirm their existing beliefs. In contrast to the general public, government officials and the activist public showed higher (and comparable) knowledge levels, although their attitudes varied widely, reflecting the competing constituencies which they purported to represent.
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