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— He doubts that the public is getting aroused over excessive chief executive remuneration. "CEO pay is not a salient issue to most people," says Poole.

But Glen M. Broom, emeritus professor of communications at San Diego State University, thinks the pay gap is creating a crisis. "We have a socioeconomic status problem," says Broom. "We are creating a bipolar economic system; the middle class doesn't mean much anymore. I see signs that there is social conflict and that the social conflict is changing things within corporations." Broom is one of the authors of the long-standing gold standard of public relations texts, Effective Public Relations.

Eyeing polls and various studies, Broom concludes that the public is fed up with excessive executive pay, corporate accounting scandals, and greed that is all too evident in companies, as well as at nonprofits and universities. "Public opinion is like atmospheric pressure," says Broom. "You're not always aware of it directly, but it is having an impact. The public is aroused," and corporations and politicians will have to respond.

In any case, last week's election shows that the political balance is shifting. But after a short period of calm, the invective may intensify.

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