Chapter 31 and Chapter 6 Notes
Chapter 31 and Chapter 6 Notes POLS 1336
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Date Created: 02/27/15
Chapter 31 How Question Wording Affects Public Opinion Surveys Considerations as Source of Political Opinions People only think of what s at the top of their heads during an interview Wording may bring different ideas to people s minds 0 Question Order Effects If a person is asked a question early response may be vague because they haven t really thought about the issue at hand If the question is asked later when other questions have been asked the answer may be different and less vague because the person is now engaged with the issue at hand 0 Way question is worded May show bias quotPoorquot vs Welfare Poor is favored welfare is not favored Balanced Arguments Both sides of the issue are shown Able to agreedisagree and have other options 0 The No Opinion and Middle Position It is not right or wrong to include a middle position or no opinion option in a survey Sometimes people will choose it because it s easier to do and still completes the job OpenEnded vs CloseEnded Questions Closed Yes or No questions or No Opinion Opened Tons of answers Some people may be lazy and just say quotNo Opinionquot Majority of questions are Closed Multiple Choice kind of questions are considered CloseEnded Chapter 6 Political Socialization and Public Opinion Political Socialization and Civic Participation Political Socialization Process by which we develop political values and opinions Begins at an early age and continues through adulthood Shapes Political ideology how we take sides evaluate candidates Civically Engaged Parents often have civically engaged children Parents subtle or not so subtle comments in uence children 0 Process of Political Socialization Family and School have strongest in uence of political socialization Media has also become a prime agent of socialization Often we perceive events in a way that s consistent with what we learned 0 Participating in Civic Life Involved Family Involved children often with the same values More educated people participate more Socialization generates participation Parents School and Media teach us to be informed when making decisions People who are not politically knowledgeable tend to not participate The knowledgeable and active vote more Agents of Socialization The individuals organizations and institutions that facilitate the acquisition of political views Family Media Schools Churches Peers and political and Community Leaders Also shaped by who we are our race ethnicity gender and age 0 Family In uences on Activism and Attitudes Political Activism is passed down through example May teach children to help a candidate attend council meeting etc OR may teach children to protest riot and boycott products Other parents apathy towards government may teach children not to take part But children may still become active due to school media Children also learn WHAT to believe Is the government too big Too small Weekly Reader has a 1st 12th grade poll to see how kids would vote This vote is also a good predictor for how adults will vote and who will win which shows that children re ect the beliefs of their families The Media s EverIncreasing Role in Socialization TV Radio lnternet Electronic Print Media is everpresent 1 Help shape societal norms gt Re ect changing societal norms standards values gt Example Dora the Explorer emphasizes racial equality gt Reinforce core democratic values gt Example American Idol uses a Voting system to decide who wins 2 Help Determine National Agenda gt Focus the attention of American Public to speci c topics gt People may demand action on policy issue 3 Educate the public about policy issues gt Inform viewers about current events actions of policy makers and public policy challenges in local state and national governments 4 Can Skew people s perception of public policy priorities and challenges gt quotIf it bleeds it leadsquot The media focuses on violence gt Crime has actually dropped since the 705 but media coverage of crime has increased gt Although this may have less of a lasting effect on people it piques interest more than a political debate so it s covered more Schools Patriotism and Civic Participation Teach patriotism in daily recital of quotPledge of Allegiancequot Teaches to venerate quotThe Founding Fathersquot and national leaders Increasingly including women racial and ethnic minorities in the list of leaders Also determines who will participate The more educated participate more Churches The Role of Religion Really important for some irrelevant for others Type of Religion is not as important as regularity of practice when determining how religion impacts political beliefs Those who practice religion regularly tend to be Conservative and support Republicans gt This is strongest among White Protestants gt Not so strong with Catholics or African Americans gt African Americans MOST likely Democrats but are huge in church attendance 0 Peers and Group Norms May inform you of things that may affect you and them Usually reinforce already held beliefs and values People you are familiar with tend to be similar to you 0 Political and Community Leaders Opinion Shapers Highly respected leaders can sway opinions President Obama s of health care caused people to prioritize it This idea can also be applied to State and Local Leaders 0 Demographic Characteristics Our Politics are a re ection of us Race and Ethnicity Different candidate preference party affiliation ideology gt Latinos African Americans and Asian Americans are Mostly Democratic gt African American Youth are the most politically engaged Most likely to vote gt Young Asian Americans are more participative in community Do a lot of charity gt Young Latinos are least likely to do the previous but most likely to protest gt Young Whites Most likely to run walk or bike for charity Gender Men and Women have different views on issues and candidates Gender Gap Measurable difference in the way men and women vote and the way they view issues VVV Women are more likely than men to vote democratic Women tend to vote more than men except for women under 25 Women tend to live longer than men so older women are an important vote Women usually do fundraisers and charity work Men and women are just as likely to volunteer to solve community problems Men are more likely to choose political forms of activism Men and Women s views of abortion don t differ as much as we think Men tend to favor the death penalty more Women tend to favor bigger government while men tend to favor smaller government Age and Events Some events through life may change people s views Generational Effect quotAgeCohort effect The In uence of signi cant external events to change views of a generation Felt Most strongly by young people gt gt 911 Made people under 30 feel the need to keep US safe Great Depression WWII Vietnam War and Baby Boom had effects as well Great Depression Those who came of age under FDR became democrats Geographic Region Socialization depends on which region you are from gt VVVV Immigration from different places Different mindsets coming together Greatest difference in History Northeast vs South Constitution Issue of Slavery Civil War States Rights South tends to be more religious and republican South tends to be protestant North tends to be Catholic and Jewish Measuring Public Opinion Public Opinion Public s expressed views about an issue at a speci c point in time Ideology is the prism through which people view political issues Elizabeth Noelle Neumann Public Opinion itself is a socializing agent in that it provides an independent context that affects political behavior Manifested by Protests bloggers posting opinions Voting Most important way to measure Public Opinion Public Opinion Poll A survey of a given population s opinion on an issue at the time Policymakers and elected officials care about this to get reelected o The Origin of Pubic Opinion Polls Walter Lippman s quotPublic Opinionquot gt Stressed both importance of public opinion for policymakers and value gt 2 areas of opinion research 1 Marketing Research Used by businesses to increase sales 2 Public Opinion Research Used to measure people s opinions on politics Straw Poll Conducted in an unscienti c manner to predict an election Predicted right between 19201932 but in 1936 FDR won and it predicted his loss Greatest Error Unrepresentative sample to conclude on wide public The polled were subscribers to Literary Digest which meant they were rich and not on FDR s side Gallup Poll Predicted 1936 election correctly Used Random Sample o How Public Opinion Polls are Conducted Candidates for Public office use polls to determine their initial name recognition effectiveness of campaign opponent s weakness and how people are responding to their message Elected officials use it to gauge constituents opinion and theirjob performance 1 Determine Population Group of people whose opinion is of interest and desWed 2 Determine Information desired form survey respondents This is where question order and design come in gt Most Americans identify themselves as Moderate They will also prefer the term progressive over the term liberal Sampling Represent the views of its population Random Sampling Each member of population has an equal chance at being chosen FLAW It can only be SO random Quota Sampling Sample is representative of characteristics of target population Starti ed Sampling National Population divided in 4ths and certain areas within regions are chosen Sampling Error AKA Margin of Error Adjust for Sampling Problems gt A statistical calculation of the difference in random sample vs entire population gt Add or Subtract 3 for an accurate range Tracking Polls Measure changes in Public Opinion over the course of days weeks months by repeatedly asking respondents the same questions and measuring changes in opinions Candidates can see effect of campaign on public opinion Push Polls Attempts to skew public opinion about candidate and provides information on strength and weaknesses Gauge Voter Priorities Ask Hypothetical questions Exit Polls Done at polling places on Election Day to project a winner before the polls close Used by News Organizations to predict outcome and see why people voted the way they did What Americans think about Politics Connect people to government Pos et government officials know opinion of masses Which issues are important Best Solution Do people approve ofjob performance Polls are circular Media coverage of them may change people s views 0 The Most Important Problem Routinely asked question Changes according to times Until 2007 War in Iraq was at the top In 2008 the economy took the top because of the recession 0 Public Opinion about Government Trust in government to deal with national and foreign affairs has generally declined over the years Increased after 911 decreased after Katrina in 2005 The level of distrust in 2007 due to economic downturn almost matched the distrust due to Watergate in the 705 which has been the highest distrust of government quotObama carequot actually increased trust in 2008 People see legislative vs executive Trust either one never both Judicial Branch has the most trust
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