Past Questions: Pressure Groups

Some answered, some not. This is a compilation of all the past paper questions (that were accessible at the time - there may be more now). Good source for practice questions without having to wade through the Edexcel website (which isn't very good...).

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Pressure Groups
ShortAnswer Questions (15)
Why do pressure groups seek to influence the Supreme Court, and what methods do
they use?
Effective veto (e.g. potential to veto Obamacare)
Has power to amend constitution, interpret laws
Less wealthy groups can make significant change without needing vast funds to lobby
Congress (e.g. civil rights ­ Brown vs. Board of Education, outlawed segregation in
What ­ Methods
Campaign for presidential candidates in order to get SC nominees of matching
Also offer support for judicial nominees
`Amicus' brief ­ offer free information to the court in order to influence the result
Which types of pressure group seek to influence the Senate, and why?
Group looking to block a certain bill can attempt to raise the supermajority of 60
required for a filibuster (causal groups rather than specific interests, perhaps) (Sierra
Club, ACLU), as Senate can block legislation
Groups interested in issues such as agriculture, gun rights (NRA) and mining (and
anything else that tends to involve rural people) because Senate overrepresents rural
Any group would want to influence the Senate, as being smaller makes it easier to
convince/lobby a significant proportion of the available votes (most important point)
Exclusive powers Senate ratifies treaties, confirms judicial appointments
Explain the meaning of the term 'iron triangles', and assess their significance.
Why has the impact of professional lobbyists on policymaking in the USA been
In what ways, and to what extent, do pressure groups exert influence through
initiatives and propositions?
Essay Questions (45)
To what extent does pressure group activity in the USA benefit the wealthy at the
expense of the poor?
Pressure group activity should not, in theory, benefit the wealthy at the expense of the
poor ­ a large group should outweigh a wealthy group and there are far fewer wealthy
people than poor. But with that said, the Citizens United case in 2010 has allowed
individual donors to use money to large effect ­ for example, the $5m donated by
Sheldon Adelson to a Super PAC in the Republican primary race
Yes big effect

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Founding Fathers ­ Madison warned about the danger of `factions'
Citizens United ­ creation of SuperPACs
Clearly an expensive industry over $30bn spent in lobbying since 1998
Wealthy get more say NRA outspends antigun pressure groups 3:1
Corporate lobbying seems to have effect Lockheed Martin were given $30bn of
contracts in 20001, partly through contacts in cabinet (including VP Cheney)
Arguably 'buying policies' NRA partfunded Bush Jr. in 2000 via its 4.…read more

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Value' issues typically associated with pressure groups are often subordinated to
issues relating to the economy or foreign policy, which groups may seek to influence
but which they do not define
Influence of the Christian Right faded during the course of Bush's presidency
Agenda of Obama administration ­ dominated by stimulus package, health care
reform and reform of financial regulation ­ has only been secondarily influenced by
pressure groups
Tea Party was highly visible during the 2010 midterms, but lacked a clear policy
agenda and…read more


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