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POS2041 Exam 2 Study Guide
Chapter 6: Public Opinion and the Media
I. What is public opinion?
A. Public opinion is the citizen’s views on politics and government actions. II. Why does public opinion matter?
A. Citizens’ political actions are driven by their opinions.
1. Voting, contributing to campaigns, writing letters to senators, activism, etc.
B. Examining public opinion helps explain the behavior of political candidates and parties.
1. Politicians seek out public opinion to know what they need to support.
C. Public opinion is a key to understanding what motivates citizens and political officials.
III. If public opinion is uninformed, how much easier is it to manipulate? A. Implications of the definition show that government should not need all opinions.
B. Public opinion is important because people need guidance to follow and form their own opinions.
C. It is easy to manipulate because people always want to feel like a part of a thought, so citizens easily latch on to opinions they do not know enough about. We also discuss several other topics like What is the process through which evolution occurs?
Where do opinions come from?
I. Underlying attitudes
A. Opinions are expressions of underlying attitudes, individuals vary widely. II. Political Socialization If you want to learn more check out What program is believed to have first been used in 1974 by bell labs technicians?
Don't forget about the age old question of How does an adaptation affect the fitness of a species?
A. Agents of Socialization
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2. Pop culture
3. Grade school and college education We also discuss several other topics like What are the food sources of proteins?
4. Major events
B. Generational effects
III. Life Stages
A. We will reach a point where different politically affected issues matter to us. IV. Partisanship
A. Psychological Phenomenon
B. Practical aspects
1. Some people only use it as a shorthand cue when election season is here, for others it is a personal identity that influences their decisions.
V. Party Identification and Race/Ethnicity
A. White voters lean towards the Republican Party
B. Black voters lean towards the Democrat Party
VI. Party Identification and Age
A. Millennial prefer “independent” or Democrat
mass survey: a way to measure public opinion by interviewing a large sample of the population. We also discuss several other topics like What is a good health system?
population: the group of people whom a researcher or pollster wants to study, such as evangelicals, senior citizens, or Americans.
sampling error: the predicted difference between the average opinion in the population, sometimes called margin of error.
sample: within a population, the group of people surveyed in order to gauge the whole population’s opinion. These are used because it would be impossible to survey they entire population
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Chapter 7: Political Parties
Political Parties in the USA
I. Parties, defined: Don't forget about the age old question of What is friction's simple definition?
A. Burke: people who come together over a policy idea/ideological platform, then stayed together
B. Down: team of men who are united under one to gain political power. A pragmatic institution.
C. The first parties were thanks to Alexander Hamilton: he saw the expediency of political parties, that a coalition of supporters for ideas was good.
D. A change in the size or composition of the party coalitions or in the nature of the issues that divide the parties is called realignment.
Incentives for Party Building
I. Need for Organization
A. Principal body in each party organization is called the national committee.
1. National Committee: consists of representatives from state party organizations, which are made up of party organizations at the city, county, and town levels.
II. To build stable legislative and electoral alliances
III. To mobilize voters
IV. To develop new electoral techniques.
V. To use party labels and enforce collective responsibility
A. Parties stand for different things so when used to label a candidate, it gives a shorthand idea of what that individual may stand for.
Basic Features of the Party System
I. Electoral rules favor the “two-party” system (Dems and Reps)
II. Decentralized, fragmented party coalitions.
III. Professional politicians
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party organization: a specific political party’s leaders and workers at the national, state, and local levels.
party in government: the group of officeholders who belong to a specific political party and were elected as candidates of that party.
party in the electorate: the group of citizens who identify with a specific political party.
party system: periods in which the names of the major political parties, their supporters, and the issues dividing them have remained relatively stable.
caucus: a local meeting in which party members select a party’s nominee for the general election.
party platform: a set of objectives outlining the party’s issue positions and priorities. (candidates don’t have to support this)
Chapter 9: Interest Groups
What are interest groups?
I. Interest groups are an organization of people who share common political interests and aim to influence public policy by electioneering and lobbying.
II. Lobbying is the efforts to influence public policy through contact with public officials on behalf of an interest group.
A. Lobbying is a channel of communication to your representatives
1. Also a channel for participation through groups, gives a stronger role in government.
2. Groups can figure out what’s on top of the agenda and give Congress the most important thing to focus on.
3. Groups can enhance political efficiency, learn about different issues, build networks across different classes, races, etc.
4. Can help the government rebuild, often for free
III. Lobbying to Affect Policy
A. Inside Game
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1. Earmarks: banned, but they are special deals for certain people within government to enact policy.
2. Persuasion and access
3. Lobbying within
a) Congress: most porous
b) The Executive Branch: hard to get into
c) The Judiciary: least accessible
B. Outside Game
1. Socialize (expand the scope of) conflict aka make the public aware of issues so more action is taken.
2. Grassroots vs. Astroturf
a) Grassroots: grown from bottom up, people ready to take action b) Astroturf: more modern, uses social media to get traction
3. Mobilize the movement
How Inequality Affects Representation
I. Representational Inequality
A. People are more middle class, so they have more time and money to work for interest groups
1. This means that poorer classes are not as able to take time away from their responsibilities to lobby.
II. Resource Inequality
A. Tops in Lobbying
1. Business and medical interest groups have the most resources III. Access Inequality
A. Iron Triangles vs. Issue Networks
1. Iron Triangle: small group with no room for broad representation or access 2. Issue Networks are permeable