Hi McGrath, it's nice to read posts by someone as interested in politics as I am. We can just bore everyone else to tears, huh?
I think there are "the public," and then there are "the public." What I mean is there are differences of opinion, sometimes in many shades, across the spectrum of the poor, working, and middle classes that comprise "the public." It's real handy for politicians and others, who prefer that "the public" be viewed as contemptible and backward, to take one section of "opinion" (the section they prefer) and promote it as representing all of "the public." Resistance to the war in Vietnam, for instance, was widespread from the first among the U.S. black population. And, the manufactured "hard hat" image notwithstanding, it was the workingclass communities which voted most strongly, when referenda made the ballot, to "leave the Vietnamese to manage their own affairs." (wording of a ballot ref back then in Dearborn, MI).
'Nuf for now. Cheers! –Larry C.