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Exam 2 outline/study guide

by: Taylor Urban

Exam 2 outline/study guide 0200

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This outline covers everything that you will need to know for Exam 2.
American Politics
Dr. Katharine Francis
Study Guide
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This 20 page Study Guide was uploaded by Taylor Urban on Wednesday February 24, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to 0200 at University of Pittsburgh taught by Dr. Katharine Francis in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 21 views. For similar materials see American Politics in Political Science at University of Pittsburgh.


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Date Created: 02/24/16
Chapter 8: Political Parties • Political organizations that sponsor candidates for office and coordinate the actions of officials elected under the party banner - Team of office seekers • Label signifies something to the electorate - A party “brand name”: a cue to voters about what parties and party candidates stand for - Only one that can officially sponsor a candidate • Differ from other political groups (e.g., interest groups) because their key activity is selecting candidates for public office - Different from ideologies  Partisans = someone who supports/belongs to a party  Copartisans = someone who belongs to same party as you - Copartisans don’t always agree - ideological divisions or factions - Unified during election - Blue Dog democrats – fiscally conservative Democrats  Electorate = adults eligible to vote - Regardless of whether or not they do  Constituents = the group of people who vote for a government official  Party coalition = group of people who regularly support the party - For example, young voters, minority voters, single moms, and people with incomes above $55k  Party as organization - the organization that seeks to nominate and get its candidates elected, the people who keep the party running, state and local headquarters, national office, full-time staff - National party organization: strategy, positions, money o DNC and RNC  Party in government - elected officials who serve in office, call themselves members of the party - when we talk about polarization, talking about party in government  Party in electorate – - people who vote for or support the party, largest component - Different levels of affiliation: o Identifiers- most basic o Supporters – do more, give money, door to door, help people register to vote o Activists – very strong opinions, very well informed, MOST EXTREME opinions, participate more early in the process Four Functions of Political Parties • They nominate candidates - Selection of who runs as republican, democrat, etc. • They structure the vote choice in elections - Parties take ideological positions – platforms - Help give cues to voters, simplifies • They propose alternative government programs - Elected officials pursue policy change - Real alternatives • They coordinate the actions of government officials - provide a way to work together - Important because of collective action problems Parties Help Politicians 1. The problem of getting elected - Need broad, organized base of support 2. The problem of getting things done - Collective action problem - Narrows choices and concentrates effort on shared goals 3. The problem of holding politicians accountable - Nominated candidates more likely share party’s beliefs - Punishment through voting  Parties should provide voters with choices - Responsible Party Theory o Provide real choice between two parties, party in power has a mandate and should act on their proposals, opposition party should present clear alternative o The key is real choice – policy differences, intentional voting, acting on promises, retrospective voting Age: Older=more conservative More religious= more conservative Wealthier = more conservative Minorities= more liberal Women = more liberal Men= more conservative Party Leaders • Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Majority Whip • Minority Leader, Minority Whip - Set strategy - Influence platforms - Alter outcomes - Responsible and in charge of getting things done - Have a lot of influence if everyone on party is on board, bargaining power  power is coercive but more persuasive - Promise/withhold key benefits - Offer rewards, or punishments - Convince someone to go along - Agenda-setting  For party leaders in organization, power is also coercive but persuasive - Key tool of coercion: money/assistance for re-election Article: American Political Science Association report: “Toward A More Responsible Two-Party System” Why Do We Have a Two Party System? • 1. Our Electoral System • Single winners chosen by simple plurality vote - Plurality = candidate with the greatest percent of the vote wins, just need the most, (42%, most, not majority, 39%, 19%) versus a majority (50%, 1000 votes, 501 = majority) • Duverger’s law • With single-member districts (one person elected to represent one district) and plurality voting, only two parties have real chance of winning office • I.E. Voters consider voting for a minor party a ‘wasted’ vote • Vote for the person most likely to win, strategically • 2. Importance of the Presidency and national government • Gives incentive to coalesce into the same two parties within each state/district • 3. Electoral rules • Ballot access harder for minor parties • Plurality voting system = no second place prize Can Minor Parties Suceed? • Not on a national level but may matter in close elections (2000 presidential contest) - Voters for minor party that otherwise would vote for major party may switch election outcomes • May sometimes force major parties to take up some of their issues • What would it take? - Need to change the electoral system of US politics - Major parties don’t want this! Chapter 9: Elections and Campaigns i) Elections • In U.S., any election is sequence of 2 elections: primary and general - Primary election: nominating party’s candidate for the office o voters are picking delegates to national party convention who will vote for one candidate, voters are picking delegates to national party convention who will vote for one candidate o Open primary- any registered voter can participate, regardless of party affiliation o Closed primary-only registered members of a particular political party can vote, no moderate influence, only have republicans or democrats (like PA) - General election: candidates from 2 parties compete for office o Voters cast ballots for House members, senators, and (every four years) a president and vice president • True for congressional and presidential elections • Presidential elections are unique - Primary elections don’t happen all at once (sequential) o candidates declare candidacy, caucuses and primary season, national party conventions, general election, Electoral College vote - Consequences of sequential process o Need a good campaign organization and money early o Early states matter – remember, this is why front-loading occurs o Front loading=states try to move up when their primary occurs, earlier in primary calendar, national party organization punishes them by reducing state’s number of delegates o Do not want to spend all money in primaries o Candidates win on their own, party doesn’t win it for them - General election doesn’t ‘matter’ - Presidents have to win majority of Electoral College to be elected  Iowa=first caucus - A local meeting in which party members select a party’s nominee for the general election  New Hampshire=first primary - A ballot vote in which citizens select a party’s nominee for the general election - Usually activists vote in primaries Elections vs. Campagins • An election is the official contest for a government office - As determined by electoral rules  Campaigns are organized efforts to persuade voters to choose one candidate over others competing for the same office. - Specific to candidate running in election - Candidates campaign – individual attempt to win office Congressional Primaries • Not always competitive - Less competitive if incumbent candidate running o Example: Rep. Mike Doyle (D- PA)  Very competitive if open seat - Example: Pat Murphy vs. Rod Blum (53 to 50%)  Not well-participated in - Typically about ¼ the number of general election electorate  Who participates? - Small group of people participating = Well-informed, very extreme opinions - More knowledgeable and more partisan - May have more extreme choices  Incumbency advantage - Low likelihood of being defeated - Harder for challengers - Easier to take less popular positions - Expertise The Conventions  When are they held? - Late summer of election year  What happens? - Party revises it platform on issues - Delegates select parties’ nominees - Nominee formally accepts and general election campaigns kick off The Electoral College The body that votes to select America’s president and vice president based on the popular vote in each state. Each candidate nominates a slate of electors who are selected to attend the meeting of the college if their candidate wins the most votes in a state or district • States have different number of votes - Depends on number of Members of Congress - Votes are cast by ‘electors’ • Electors vote depending on popular vote - Mostly winner-take-all - Technically, electors not ‘bound’ “faithless elector” • Candidate needs 270 of 538 votes to win How do Parties Win Elections? • Select positions that appeal to a majority of voters - Why candidates become more moderate in general election • Assumptions - One major policy that divides popular opinion (like liberal vs. conservative) - Majoritarian electoral system - 2 candidates - Candidates motivated by election - Voters choose candidate closest to them ii) Campaigns Campaign Strategy • Name recognition - Important for “down ballot” races • Highlight priorities and positions - Define yourself, don’t let opposition define you • Mobilize your likely supporters - GOTV or “the ground game” = a campaigns efforts to “get out the vote” or make sure their supporters vote on election day • Confront your opponent - Opposition research, debates, campaign advertising Advertising • Modern campaigns conducted primarily through advertising - Biggest campaign expense • Objectives of advertising: - Name recognition in beginning - Introduce their positions and priorities - Highlight, contrast o Negative advertising = criticizing opponent; may or may not contrast with own strengths  Data collection leads to new developments: - Microtargeting – focus ads narrowly on certain groups. - Addressable advertising – your TV will show the commercial regardless of the channel; new development  Differences between incumbents and challengers: - Incumbents: emphasize accomplishments, positive campaigns - Challengers: identify problems, criticize opponent Negative Ads • May be annoying, but: - More likely to focus on important public issues - Offer more information, proof • Increased negativity – why? - Fear prompts attention, trigger emotions, get you motivated to vote • Outside ads often more negative. Why? - They allow the candidate to distance themselves from the ad if voters react negatively, but benefit from it nonetheless. Why Vote?  Barriers to voting - Uninformed - Day of the week - Efficacy- knowing you won’t produce desired result  Reasons for voting - Just to say you voted - To prevent opponent from winning  Most likely to vote - Older - Educated - More wealthy Paradox of Voting • Is it rational to vote? - Calculus of voting = (benefit of voting*probability it matters) – cost of voting + duty - Duty = good citizen, satisfied that you voted • What is the likelihood that your vote will determine the outcome? - Will vote when benefits outweigh costs - Not very likely, but it can happen… How do People Decide to Vote? • Depends on how much people know/care about politics: - Issue voters o People who are well informed about their own policy preferences and knowledgeable about the candidates, and who use all of this information when they decide how to vote - Everyone else • When have less information, use voting cues or short cut - Pieces of information about a candidate that are o Readily available o Easy to interpret o Lead a citizen to same decision if had full information - Voting Cues o Incumbency o Partisanship o Personal Characteristics o “Personal Vote” o Retrospective evaluations o For (or against) party in power Myth of Independent Voter  Not many true independents • Conventional wisdom about pure independents : - Evaluate candidates on basis of qualifications and policy stances - Are more engaged and informed • Is this true? - Most independents have some weak attachment to a party - Not necessarily better informed than partisans - But are more likely to be influenced by campaign events when making their voting decision How to Interpret Election Results • The voting cues influence how elections are interpreted: normal vs. national • Normal elections: voters use cues related to candidates themselves and local factors - work as they should have, tied to qualifications, individual candidate - Partisanship, incumbency, personal characteristics - Not affected by the President, Congress, or national issues - If use voting cues that are local (tied to the district), then it is a normal election – high re-election, maybe split ticket voting  Patterns in Normal Elections - Little evidence of coattails o Idea that a popular president can generate additional support for other copartisan candidates. - Lots of split ticket voting o When a voter selects Democrats for some offices and Republicans for others (on the same ballot) o Opposite is straight ticket voting – select candidates from one party only.  Nationalized elections: voters use cues about country as a whole - how are national conditions, do I like what the party in power has done? - We see big shifts, or all incumbents reelected - Kick one party out of office - Tend to disadvantage president’s party - If the voting cues are about national conditions/performance of parties, then it is a nationalized election - coattails effect = “tired of all of this, want something new” Chapter 7: Media • Freedom of speech protected civil liberty, but government can influence what is said/how • Relationship between media and government influenced by many different factors: - What people want from the media = what the consumer wants - Government actions (regulations) = if you have one candidate, also need to have the other candidate as well - How news is made/journalists - Actions of politicians News – important for the public to know; timely, important to know in the moment - Independent of the government - Soft news = media coverage that aims to entertain or shock, often through sensationalized reporting or by focusing on a candidate or politician’s personality - Hard news = media coverage focused on facts and important issues surrounding campaign History of Media • Colonial Period (1700s-1920s) - Important news = fit interests of particular groups, such as political parties. - Characterized by: partisan news, not neutral - Very one sided – democratic newspaper/republican newspaper - Pluralist view of news o All about groups - assumes that people form groups, strongest argument from different groups prevails - Valued an exchange of ideas within society, not the news organization itself  Trustee Period (1920s-1980s) - Important news = serves public interests - Assumes that people follow the news, think about it, and make informed decisions - Characterized by: objective news o ‘What does the well informed citizen need to know?’ o Example: child labor - Regulatory and technological innovations o Increased objectivity of news o Greater range of public opinions available  Market forces prevail (1830s-1920s, 1980s-present) - Important news = what public wants to see - Today we have more partisan news, Fox News vs. MSNBC - Characterized by: entertaining news o ‘Soft news’ - Deregulation, transformation of media - 6 major companies o Comcast o NewsCorp o Disney o Viacom o CBS o TimeWarner Media Regulations • Fairness Doctrine: news corporations must offer a variety of perspective in their programing - They have to be ‘fair’ to all perspectives - Again, news supposed to serve the public interest by helping people be well-informed - Eliminated in 1987 • Equal Time Provision: if airtime is given to a candidate outside of news coverage, equal airtime must be given to all other candidates, non news programs - Example: must interview Republican and Democratic candidates  Not enforced in the same way as they used to be, don’t abide by these anymore Routines in News Reporting • What norms shape modern journalism? - Objectivity: “fair and comprehensive account of all events”; avoid imposing their own cultural values o Difference seen between reporting and advocacy - Autonomy: act independently • How do journalists acquire the news? - Originate it – they discover it themselves. o As eyewitnesses or through investigative journalism - Receive it o Press conferences, interviews, backgrounders - Gather it o Telephone, legwork, on-line research  The beat system - Beats are places where the news is expected to occur, so editors assign reporters there - Reporters know one another, similar sources - Examples: Capitol Hill, the White House, the State Department, etc.  What is the effect? - Circularity: same people covering same stories  Pack Journalism - Pack all moves together in same direction, follow the stories trail - Use same official sources - Pecking order of journalists: most senior or established get story first - Similarity of stories covered - Same stories not discussed - Way stories are covered  Horserace Coverage - Just who is pulling ahead, nothing about the issues. Constant new and exciting story, easy and simple - Most coverage of campaigns and policy debates focuses on the contest o Why does it matter? o Substitution effect - Why is it common? o Exciting story - easier to attract audience interest o More frequently have ‘new’ updates to convey o Easier to tell the story – profit incentive - Effects of horserace coverage o Don’t see coverage of issues, this creates incentive for government officials to stick to what’s safe o Less focus on important issues or qualifications for office o Not discussing policy differences, proposals, etc. o Influences candidates’ behavior – don’t need to discuss issues to keep momentum Press-Government Relations  Mutually beneficial relationship between • Press needs government officials to: - Have access to stories - Gain and keep viewers and readers • Government officials needs press to: - Get their story out - Gain popular support - Influence other politicians • Some evidence that on foreign affairs stories, news reports are more likely to take government perspective - Less likely to be critical - Due to availability of information and expertise  Indexing – even though we want media to hold govnt. accountable, they can’t, it’s hard for them to do Models of Media • Watch dog: media surveys what government does and lets people know if there is a problem. - Makes politics more informed and responsible, i.e. investigative reporting. • Attack dog: media attacks or criticizes individuals or institutions in power - Adversarial journalism • Lap dog: media goes along with government policies because media owners depend on government support, never pushing for answers - Don’t ‘rock the boat’ Effects of Media Exposure  Selective Exposure = tendency to expose ourselves to news that aligns with our beliefs - Polarization of news audiences - Intensification of partisan attitudes - Selective exposure decreases diversity of political exposure (not ‘point-counterpoint’ format any longer) - Less able to dialogue across lines of difference because less informed - Reinforces incentive for news outlets to be partisan • Possible direct effects - Learning - Persuasion • Possible indirect effects - Does it change which issues they think of as important, or how they make decisions? • Will discuss three types of indirect effects: - Agenda-Setting o Things news talks about more o People’s perceptions of issue’s importance influenced by media attention o “The media don’t tell us what to think, but they do tell us what to think about.” o By-product effect of news reporting - Priming o Coverage primes us to how we evaluate the subject o Positive/negative terms o Snowden is a “whistleblower, leaker, traitor” Is Hillary Clinton “qualified candidate” or “personable grandmother”? o Most common primes have the largest impact o Example:  Evaluations of President George HW Bush during and after Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)  Was evaluation influence more by economic performance or war?  Answer depended on which primes heard more frequently - Framing o Way in which the story is told, more language o The influence on public opinion caused by the way a story is presented or covered. o Details, explanations, and context offered in the media report. o Lens you see through o Edward Snowden; discuss it has “protecting our civil liberties” or “breach of our national security” Framing Article Figure 1: Figure 2: Chapter 10: Interest Groups and Lobbying i) Interest Groups  organizations of individuals or businesses seeking to present their concerns to the government, interest groups can further democratic representation, but their impact is influenced by their wealth and organization (not always in obvious ways). Examples: - Sierra Club - NRA - AARP  Total number of registered interest groups in thousands - Increased number in recent decades  Groups vary in membership size - Some groups have millions of members (ex.: AARP)  Interest groups can employ or hire lobbyists - Lobbyist: individual who advocates on groups’ behalf before/to government officials - Lobbyist contact all levels and branches of government  1960s and on, “Great Society” expanded scope of national government, more interest groups  Diverse society = many different interests that could be represented  Factions are similar to interest groups; one interest can’t rule them all  Can lobby at local city council, congress, etc. Roles of Interest Groups • Representation: of constituents’ interests before government • Participation: of people in politics • Education: of members, the government, and public officials • Agenda-building: their advocacy brings new issues to the political agenda for consideration. • Program monitoring: accountability for programs Types of Groups • Economic groups - Corporations, trade associations, labor groups, professional organizations - Economic profit key motivator - Most numerous, wealthiest, influential - Private - Employees, dues paying members (why the don’t have the collective action problem) • Citizen groups (a.k.a. public interest groups) - Seek changes in spending, regulation, or government programs - care about a variety of different things that relate to public goods/interest • Single-interest groups - Narrowly focused on piece of legislation or government program - “care about how film industry is being taxed in Pittsburgh” Who Works for Groups? • Two types of staff - Policy experts: natural and social scientists, engineers, etc. - Government experts: former elected officials, bureaucrats, legislative staff • The concern? The “revolving door” - congress to a lobbying firm, or vice versa - insider advantage Resources • People - Gaining members expensive and mobilizing them difficult • Money - Well-funded groups have big advantages, but advantages not insurmountable - Rather have a lot of money than little money • Expertise - Some groups have reputations for policy expertise, knowledge of political climate Collective Action Problem Why do groups have trouble gaining and keeping members?  a situation in which members of a group would benefit by working together to produce some outcome, but each individual is better off refusing to cooperate and reaping benefits from those who do work  all share a same interest, but people have individual interest and would rather use their $60 else where, than pay to join an interest group. Care about things, but don’t want to pay the money Overcoming this Problem  Offer material/selective incentives for contributing to group’s goals - Money, things, or services if contribute - Offer you a selective reason to join their group, only get that thing if you join  Play up solidary incentives - Enjoyment of working with like-minded people  Play up purposive incentives - Satisfaction of working toward the policy goal  Coercion: requiring participation - Example: labor unions’ membership dues. Implications  Which groups have the easiest and hardest times gaining and maintaining membership? - Easiest = business, professional, and trade organizations - Hardest = citizen groups • Is the interest group universe representative? - No: “The flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper class accent.” -E.E. Schattschneider - Biased towards business and wealthy individuals with resources ii) Lobbying  Efforts to influence public policy through contact with public office on behalf of an interest group  Can be done at local, state, or federal level.  Who does it? - Representatives of interest groups themselves - Members of interest groups - Lobbying firms hired by the interest groups Rules About Lobbying • Heavily regulated - Annual reports identify clients and salary, which staff lobby - Have to file quarterly disclosure forms; accountability - 1-2 year waiting period between leaving office and lobbying o Meant to prevent revolving door • Lots of money is spent! - Staff, advertising campaigns, contracts to lobbying firms - Other costs (meals, gifts, etc. to those one is lobbying) Inside Strategies  The tactics employed within D.C., by interest groups seeking to achieve their policy goals  Direct lobbying - Meets directly with person, persuade (keep people tied to their opinions) - Attempts by interest groups staff to influence policy by speaking with elected officials or bureaucrats - Information driven  Other activities - Drafting legislation and regulations - Conducting and sharing research - Testifying at hearings - Litigation Outside Strategies  The tactics employed outside D.C., by interest groups seeking to achieve their policy goals  Grassroots lobbying - Participation by group members, example: protest or letter-writing campaign. - Mobilize citizen engagement - Why might this be effective? o Public opinion not always clear  How can this be taken advantage of? - Astroturf lobbying o Activity meant to look like the spontaneous, independent participation of many individuals. Faking letters, claiming to be people they’re not. Fake mobilization  Electioneering - Influencing who gets elected – money, money, money  Interest groups starting donating to candidates in the 1940s - Started with labor unions, Congress trying to block their influence - Created Political Action Committee  What an organization can do based on its tax status - PACs—Can contribute directly to candidates and parties, but with strict limits on overall contributions. Exist solely to donate money to candidates, money is capped. o Disclosing who gives PACs money also required - Super PACs— unlimited amounts of money, cannot directly coordinate with candidate, not regulated by the FEC - 501(c)(3)— tax code that applies to most interest groups, no political activities other than mobilization, makes donations to the group tax deductible but limit’s the groups political activities - 527—Can spend unlimited amounts on issue advocacy and mobilization, but cannot contribute to (or coordinate with) candidates or parties o “Dark money” – don’t have to disclose who gives them money Truths About Group Influence  Having more money doesn’t always get you the outcome you want  What does it get? - May be more likely to take your meetings, donor 100x more likely to meet - Work harder on issues the group and official support  Resources and access are more important than $$$  Groups that have money don’t always get outcome they want: - two sides, so work together as coalition, really rich group+really poor group Measuring Interest Group Influence (Gilens and Page) • When compare preferences of the ‘average’ citizen, economic wealthy and interest groups, whose preferences are reflected in law? - 4 options: average citizens, economic elites, all interest groups, business interest groups  Found 1,779 policies for which could measure preferences of average citizens, wealthy, and interest groups - A few caveats: o Policymaking isn’t a zero-sum game (can only have one winner) – interests of citizens, wealthy could overlap o Very little overlap between preferences of average citizens and IGs  The answer… - Average citizens’ preferences have little direct impact - IGs and economic elites preferences have a much stronger impact - Business interest groups have a larger impact than mass-based groups  Implications… - Are policies truly representative of the public? - Government doesn’t pay attention to what we think


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