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UGA / Political Science / POLS 1101 / When public opinion is not stable, its movements can usually be explai

When public opinion is not stable, its movements can usually be explai

When public opinion is not stable, its movements can usually be explai


School: University of Georgia
Department: Political Science
Course: American Government
Professor: Jason byers
Term: Spring 2017
Tags: Government, politicalscience, POLS1101, and pols
Cost: 50
Name: POLS Exam 3 Study Guide
Description: This study guide covers public opinion, election & campaigns, and political parties.
Uploaded: 04/18/2018
22 Pages 75 Views 9 Unlocks


When public opinion is not stable, its movements can usually be explained by which of the following?

Practice Questions (Public Opinion):

1. Because of the basic constitutional guarantees that allow citizens to express their views and compel government leaders to take those views into account, it is both possible and essential for political leaders and policy advocates to try to:

a. Shape and mobilize public opinion on behalf of their causes. 

b. Avoid considering the role of public opinion in the success of their causes

c. Mobilize public opinion on behalf of their causes, because they are incapable of also shaping public opinion on behalf of their causes.

2. In theory, ideologies promote consistency among political attitudes by connecting them to a more general principle or set of principles. In practice, ideologies:

What are the modern efforts to measure, shape, and exploit public opinion that has spawned two linked industries?

We also discuss several other topics like What were the most important successes of the eu in its neighbourhood policy?

a. Are incoherently connected beliefs.

b. Often combine attitudes linked more by coalitional politics than by principle. c. Are inherited from your parents.

3. Ignorance about an issue does not necessarily prevent people from expressing opinions. Pollsters:

a. Believe most people guess when they do not know how to feel about an issue.

b. Claim the fundamentally irrational way people approach their opinions means no attitudes are informed.

c. Can get as many as one third of the people they interview to offer opinions on entirely imaginary issues. 

4. True or False: When it comes to principles instead of programs, Americans most likely think of themselves as conservative.

People choose which leaders to follow and which messages to heed according to what?

If you want to learn more check out What is the meaning of correlational research?


5. When public opinion is not stable, its movements can usually be explained by which of the following?

a. real-world events and circumstances 

b. polling-method errors We also discuss several other topics like What is the field that uniquely identifies a given record in a table?

c. measurement errors that have failed to cancel one another


6. Americans seem to support a wide range of economic and social policies that commonly are classified as:


7. Because the fit between the words and concepts used in polling questions and how people actually think about issues is never perfect, even the most carefully designed question:

a. Can fail to provide any accurate information.

b. Can result in an inaccurate representation of opinion.

c. Is subject to some measurement error. 

8. Modern efforts to measure, shape, and exploit public opinion have spawned two linked industries:

a. scientific polling and public relations. 

b. scientific polling and advertising.

c. public relations and political science.

9. Democracies differ from other forms of government:

a. In terms of which private persons government find it prudent to heed. 10. Which of the following is true about opinion leaders?

a. They are limited to the media elite who tell individuals how they should think.

b. They are limited to the political elite who tell individuals how they should think and who make the decisions for the country.

c. They are a small segment of the public that forms opinions by paying close attention to political events and issues and from whom the uninformed majority takes cues about the issues. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of peacebuilding?

11. Aggregate public opinion, is, given its coherence and focus by:

a. Issue publics

b. Opinion leaders 

c. Pollsters


12. In general, opinion on whether to take a tougher or more conciliatory approach to dealing with the Soviets varied:

a. With U.S. perceptions of Soviet behavior. 

b. By age.

c. As a function of the American economy. We also discuss several other topics like What are the study, composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter?
We also discuss several other topics like What is the scale of biodiversity?

13. ______ explains how both the mass media and political campaigns can affect people's expressed political opinions.


14. The vast network of organizations engaged in measuring or trying to influence public opinion underlines the reality that:

a. measuring public opinion is a challenging, if not impossible, task.

b. public opinion’s influence is fairly simple.

c. public opinion’s influence is rarely simple or unmediated. 

15. People choose which leaders to follow and which messages to heed according to: a. VALUES AND BELIEFS THEY ACCUMULATE OVER TIME.

16. Which of the following would be most liberal?

a. Resident of the mountain states

b. City dweller 

c. Evangelical Christian

17. TRUE OR FALSE: Regardless of religious affiliation, the more active people are in religious life, the less socially conservative they are likely to be.


18. Deciding how we feel about an issue by noting who is for it or against it is an example of a(n) ______.


19. Political scientist V.O Key Jr. defined public opinion as:



20. The term “straw poll,” an analogy for finding out what public opinion is, refers to:

a. political parties choosing candidates when delegates drop straws in a box as they vote for one candidate or another.

b. tossing straws in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. 

c. drawing straws to see who gets the short straw.

21. An organized and consistent manner of thinking, feeling, and reacting with regard to people, groups, social issues, or, more generally, any event in one’s environment is often referred to as an:


22. Aggregate public opinion is not easily malleable because:

a. The raw individual material that goes into the construction of public opinion is not easily changed. 

b. People are unwilling to change their minds.

c. People are unable to change their minds.

23. The gender gap in politics is best defined by:


Practice Questions (Elections & Campaigns):

24. Issue voting is:


25. Pluralist politics is all about building coalitions, which means:

a. The formation of interest groups for key policies.

b. Getting people to agree to disagree.

c. Getting people to agree on an action even in the absence of agreement on the purposes of the action. 


26. A staple of political advertising is:


27. Casting a vote is making a prediction about the future:

a. that electing one candidate will produce a better outcome in some relevant sense than electing another candidate. 

b. that one candidate will implement the policies you want exactly as you would like. c. that one candidate cannot—and should not—win.

28. Broadly speaking, campaign finance operates through two parallel systems:

a. Money given directly to candidates, which is regulated, and money spent outside of the candidate's campaign, which generally is unregulated.

29. Prior to the 2012 election, more than a dozen states adopted a requirement that voters show a picture ID at the polls, which:

a. Raised the cost of participation for poor and minority voters. 

b. Raised the cost of participation for wealthy, White voters.

c. Lowered the cost of participation for poor and minority voters.

30. What is true about the practices of selecting leaders by ballot and limiting suffrage?


31. The Civil War amendments:


32. TRUE OR FALSE: Voters who coalesce around causes such as gun control or gun rights are examples of single issue voters.


33. The best single predictor of how someone will vote in federal elections is: a. PARTY IDENTIFICATION


34. Since 1972, about _____ % of all eligible voters register and vote in presidential elections. a. 58%

35. _____—getting people to agree on an action in the absence of agreement on the purposes of the action—is what pluralist politics is all about, and it is as fundamental to electoral politics as it is to governing.

a. Mobilizing 

b. Voting

c. Building coalitions

36. Regular, free and competitive elections:

a. are reserved for the most efficient democracies

b. require citizens to be well informed

c. reduces the problem of delegation 

37. TRUE OR FALSE: Poll taxes, literacy tests, the requirement that voters re-register, and Voter ID laws are all examples of legislative efforts to discourage some groups from voting.


38. The women’s suffrage movement grew directly out of:


39. The campaign to give women the right to vote was fueled by the hope that their presence in the electorate would:

a. Support the candidates their husbands supported.

b. Increase spending on social programs.

c. Improve the moral tone of political life. 

40. Which of the following was a consequence of expanding the voting franchise? a. The propertyless despoiled the propertied.

b. Votes for women immediately transformed electoral politics.

c. A decline in the percentage of those eligible who turn out to vote. 


41. The threat of replacement provides elected officials with:


42. Elections allow ordinary citizens to, in aggregate:

a. pay for government services they receive.

b. express how they feel about government although elected officials do not take the voters’ views into account when they make policy choices.

c. reward or punish elected officials for their performance in office. 

43. Every expansion of suffrage since the adoption of the Constitution has had to do which of the following?

a. Be approved by the states

b. Be agreed upon at the local level

c. Overcome both philosophical objections and resistance rooted in the mundane calculations of political advantage 

44. TRUE OR FALSE: Age and education have the strongest influence on voting. a. TRUE

45. The messages candidates use in their campaigns depend very much on two things: a. The national context and what they can afford. 

b. The national context and who is running against them.

c. The national context and their political party.

46. What helps to solve the massive coordination problem faced by millions of voters trying to act collectively to control or replace their agents?


Practice Questions (Political Parties):

47. Typically, more than half of voters tell pollsters that the two major parties: a. Do such a poor job that a third major party is needed.


48. In An Economic Theory of Democracy, Anthony Downs defined a political party as:

a. A collection of like-minded citizens, united in their purpose to advocate relevant policy preferences.

b. Any organization that seeks to influence the outcomes in elections.

c. A team of men seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election. 

49. The ______ ballot, introduced during the Progressive Era and still in use today, lists candidates from all parties and is marked in the privacy of a voting booth.


50. One consequence of the electoral reforms of the Progressive Era was to: a. Shift the focus of electoral politics from candidates to issues.

b. Shift the focus of electoral politics from parties to candidates. 

c. Implement restrictions on who could vote.

51. The “party organization” refers to one part of a connected three-part system that is:

a. Composed of those voters who identify with the party and regularly vote for its nominees.

b. Dedicated to electing the party’s candidates. 

c. Only the party that is affiliated with the majority of the population.

52. Duverger’s law explains:

a. Why in any election in which a single winner is chosen by plurality voting, there is a strong tendency for serious competitors to be reduced to two.

53. The New Deal coalition of Democrats began to unravel due to which of the following issues?

a. civil rights for African Americans

b. the Vietnam War

c. new economic initiatives such as housing subsidies and school nutrition programs d. all of these 


54. Which of the following describes the distribution of those willing to call themselves Democrats or Republicans—that is, partisan identification—from 1952 through 2010?


55. Political scientist John Aldrich observed, “A new form of party has emerged, one that is in service to its ambitious politicians but not ______ them.”

a. Underneath

b. an agent of

c. in control of 

56. Political parties are:


57. No matter how well organized, electoral alliances fail:

a. IF THEY CANNOT GET ENOUGH PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR THEIR CANDIDATES. 58. Which of the following is true about the two-party system in the United States? a. It is mandated by Article II of the Constitution

b. It has continued with a few exceptions since shortly after the nation’s founding c. It is like most other modern democracies in the world

59. One implication of our winner take all system is:


60. The Federalists, one of the first two major parties, faded as a national force when which of the following occurred?

a. Their pro-British leanings put them on the wrong side of the War of 1812 b. President Washington denounced them from the well of the Senate

c. President Adams resigned from the party while in office

61. TRUE OR FALSE: President Obama and his Republican Congress are an example of divided government.



62. Divided government:

a. Allows each party to block the other party’s more extreme proposals and forces both to compromise when making policy.

63. Which of the following was true about the 2012 party platforms, which were statements of the policy positions of each party?

a. Few voters learn of the differences between the parties from them; rather, voters learned about the parties’ positions through political news and campaign 


b. They were most voters’ primary sources for learning the differences between the parties.

c. They were very similar in the policies advocated by both major parties. 64. Because candidates are the focus of modern political campaigns:

a. The party’s activities are aimed more at helping individual candidates compete more effectively than at promoting the party brand.

65. The federal system offers powerful incentives for ______ to win and exercise political power.

a. Candidates

b. political parties

c. the media

66. Which of the following weakened traditional party organizations and ended their monopoly control of campaigns?

a. the primary system

b. progressive era reforms 

c. the emergence of national party conventions

67. Despite their expressed disdain for parties, voters still rely heavily on party cues in making their decisions because:

a. Party labels continue to provide useful, cheap information about candidates. 10

68. Throughout U.S. history, party coalitions have shifted periodically in response to a. The party in power.

b. Desires, facts, and preferences.

c. New national issues and conflicts. 

69. TRUE OR FALSE: The legality of political party activities are ensured by the first Amendment's guarantees of freedom to speak, write, and assemble.


70. The political incentives for parties can best be explained by:

a. Man’s natural desire to belong in a group—known as belongingness.

b. The need to make voting easier through cues such as party identification.

c. The idea that action requires winning majorities on a continuing basis in multiple settings, organization is absolutely essential. 

71. The two-party system arises from ______ in the winner-take-all competition for the presidency.

a. Constitutional requirements

b. Strategic voting 

c. Personal preference

72. TRUE OR FALSE: “We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman” is an example of a Republican Party platform.


73. Republican party identifiers have ______ overtime.

a. become increasingly conservative 

b. become increasingly liberal

c. stayed at the same level of conservative


74. Anyone trying to mobilize the citizens to vote has to overcome the electorate’s tendency to ______.


75. Typically, ______ of voters tell pollsters that the two major parties do such a bad job that a third party is needed.

a. less than one third

b. about 20%

c. over one half

Key Things to Know:

Origins of Public Opinion

● Important because of its effect on POLITICAL BEHAVIOR, particularly voting. ○ Attitudes:

■ An organized and consistent manner of thinking, feeling, and reacting with regard to people, groups, social issues, and any event in one’s environment.

■ Combines feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and predispositions to act a certain way.

■ Some people have an elaborate set of informed, organized, internally

consistent attitudes that allow them to understand and respond to political phenomena.

● These individuals are ATYPICAL.

○ Ideologies:

■ Elaborately organized sets of political attitudes often take the form of

political ideologies.

■ Work to promote consistency by connecting attitudes to something greater, a more general principle.

■ Liberal v. Conservative

● Conservatives tend to distrust the government, have greater faith in

privater enterprise and free markets; willing to use government to

enforce traditional moral standards. Advocate lower taxes to

stimulate growth and to restrict the government’s capacity to

finance social welfare programs.

● Liberals tend to typically favor using government to reduce

economic inequalities, champion the right of the disadvantaged,


and tolerate a more diverse range of social behaviors. They also

believe the rich should be taxed at higher rates to finance social

welfare programs.

■ A person’s political values sometimes reflect a small number of core


● Individualism

● Support for equal opportunity

● Moral traditionalism

● Opposition to big government

○ Partisanship

■ Central to voting

■ Democrats v. Republicans

■ Party identification:

● Psychological phenomenon

● Practical aspects

○ Shorthand cue some voters, but personal identity for others

● Affects beliefs as well as opinions.

■ The degree to which members identify with a group can affect the group’s strength, cohesiveness and survival.

○ The identity of the group is crucial to the power and position of its leader. Who votes?

● Age and education have the strongest influence on voting.

● African Americans and Hispanics are less likely to vote, as are people who live in southern states or those that border southern states.

● People with deeper roots in their community vote more often as do those with internal and external efficacy.

● Turnout is HIGHER WHERE THERE ARE FEWER BARRIERS TO REGISTRATION. ● Turnout is stronger among people with stronger partisan views and electoral preferences.

● If one lives in an area with more active parties and more competitive decisions, there is also an increase in voting.

● Men and women are equally likely to turn out and vote.

● People participate when they can meet costs and appreciate the benefits. ● Those with:


○ Money

○ Education

○ Experience

○ Free time

○ Self-confidence

● Institutional contexts (variation in registration laws) affect turnout as well. ● Social circumstances also play an important role in turnout. ○ Social connections help with efficacy levels

○ Often, people participate because they were asked to.

How Do Voters Decide?

● Acquire info to reduce uncertainty. Cues and shortcuts through: ○ Opinion leaders

○ Personal characteristics of the candidate

○ Party label

● Free info through the press, social media and friends.

● Assessing Past Performance:

○ Evaluating incumbents

○ Role of the economy

○ Utilize direct experience/experience of others via media.

● Comparing future policy options

○ Focuses on issues: guns, abortion, tax cuts, civil rights, etc.

● Voters may take cues from opinion leaders.

● Candidates’ personal characteristics

○ Competence

○ Experience

○ Honesty

○ Knowledge

○ Leadership skills



○ Performance voting

■ Voting for the party in control when one thinks the government is

performing well; voting for the outs when one thinks the government is performing poorly.

○ Issue Voting

■ The typical positions of Republicans and Democrats; the parties differ in predictable ways on many issues.

Development and Evolution of the Party System

● First party system (1790-1824)

○ Creation of national parties.

● Second party system (1824-1860)

○ Basic organizational structures set

● Third party system (1860-1894)

○ Rise of party machines

● Fourth party system (1894-1932)

○ Fall of party machines

● Fifth party system (1932-?)

○ Pattern of coalitional nature of American parties.

● Sixth Party System (1950s-1960)

Party Differences

● Republicans:

○ Tend to favor a smaller, cheaper federal government

○ Advocate lower taxes

○ Prefer less regulation of business

○ Advocate lower spending on social welfare

○ Let free enterprise flourish

○ Are more generous only to the Defense Department

○ Would ban abortion and gay marriage

○ Allow official prayer in public schools.

● Democrats:

○ Are more inclined to regulate business in behalf of consumers and the 15


○ Are more supportive of government programs designed to improve domestic welfare.

○ Would spend less on national defense.

○ Are more concerned with “fairness” and equality.

○ Support legal abortion

○ Does not support official prayer in school.

The Media:

Agenda Setting

Occurs when readers and watchers of news that relates to issues or topics are influenced by what the press covers in a very specific way—it influences what they think about, not what they think


A regularly assigned venue that a news reporter covers on an ongoing basis

Credibility Gap

The widespread suspicion among reporters that presidents will lie to the media when doing so serves their interest and they think they can get away with it.


Military media strategy of putting journalists among military units in the field

Equal Time

A “fairness” rule established by the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that broadcasters offer balanced coverage of controversial issues.

Fairness Doctrine

Rule that ensures that different points of view on controversial issues have access to the airwaves.

Franking Privilege

The legal right of each member of Congress to send official mail postage-free under his or her signature


Increasingly popular, non-traditional source of political information that combines news and entertainment.



Strategically consequential information given to reporters on the condition that its source not be identified by name


A published falsehood or statement resulting in the defamation of someone’s character.

Media Bias

Bias or slant in the selection of which news to report and how the news is reported


Journalistic investigation and exposure of scandals, corruption, and injustices, pioneered during the late

nineteenth-century Progressive Era

News Media

The organizations that gather, package, and transmit the news through some proprietary communications technology

Pack Journalism

A method of news gathering in which news reporters all follow the same story in the same way because they read one another’s copy for validation of their own


Occurs when readers and watchers of news that relates to the criteria with which we evaluate candidates or elected leaders are influenced by what the press covers in a very specific way—it

influences what they think about, not what they think

Prior Restraint

A government agency’s act to prohibit the publication of material or speech before the fact.

Shield Laws

Laws that protect journalists from having to testify about their sources in court


Forms of false and malicious information that damage another person’s reputation

Sound Bite

A catchy phrase or slogan that

encapsulates a politician’s message, broadcast especially on television news programs


Trial Balloon

Policy announced by the president in order to test public opinion and floated either by members of Congress or the media

“Yellow Journalism”

Style of journalism born of intense competition and characterized by screaming headlines and sensational stories.

Development of the News Business

● The news media are the organizations that:

○ Gather

○ Package

○ Transmit the news through some proprietary communications technology. ● Developed primarily as private business enterprises uncontrolled by government.

Early Papers

● Colonial times

○ Publishing extremely expensive task.


■ The costs of transmitting a news product to each consumer.

● Printing Process

○ Time consuming, labor intensive

○ Every page had to be composed in reverse from individual pieces of metal type. ● Mid 1770’s- approximately 25 weekly newspapers were serving the colonies. ○ Pamphlet- most popular means of communicating.


● Parties launched newspapers wherever they competed in order to advance their particular vision for the Republic.

○ Parties used these newspapers to:

■ Advocate their platforms and candidates

■ Attack their opposition

The Rise of the Penny Press

● A larger audience was the main alternative to relying on a party subsidy. ● Business had an incentive to reach a mass audience.


● Market size depended on price.

● With combination of steam power and better presses, economies of scale were achieved. ○ New York Sun (first paper to enlist the new technology)

○ New York Herald (sold for a penny)

The Golden Age of Newspapers (1883-1925)

● Critics derided these devices and the papers that used them as YELLOW JOURNALISM ○ Features scandal-mongering, sensationalism, or other unethical practices by news media journalists.

Emergence of Radio and Television

● !920- Westinghouse launched the nation’s first commercial radio station in Pittsburgh. ● Television, as an industry, did not emerge until the close of WWII.

○ Instant news, no delay, more immediacy.

● Today, radio remains a significant but secondary source of news.



○ Rules that prevented broadcasters from favoring one candidate over another with free or easier access to the airwaves.


○ Sought to assure that different points of view on controversial issues had access to airwaves.


● 2008- first year that internet played a central role in the presidential election. ○ Today it is the central medium used by politicians for campaigning.

● Problem:

○ Declining subscriptions; no business model that translates growing online audience into revenue. Resistance to paying fees; advertising rates are very low. ● Blogs: only 17 of the 200 most frequently visited new sites are political blogs.

News as a Consumer Product

● News is inexpensive today so the expectation would be a better informed electorate. ● Easy to sample a variety of viewpoints so public might become more tolerant.


● We find polarization and the tendency to avoid news that contradicts prior beliefs. (selective exposure)

Newsmakers: Politicians and Public Officials

● When politicians engage in news making, they are trying to influence the course of political events.

● Reporters must keep a keen eyes on audience’s interest.

● Politicians participate in news making with 2 audiences in mind:

○ The public and fellow politicians

○ The means to communicate with fellow politicians and evoke a response ● PRESS SECRETARY 

○ Job is to generate favorable news about the officeholder.

○ President’s press secretary has the biggest job of all.


○ Discreet news-making strategy

○ Giving strategically consequential info to the news media on the condition that its source may not be identified by name.

Politicians and Reporters

● Tension in this relationship

● Classic prisoner’s dilemma

Bypassing the News Media


○ Gave members free access to the postal system

Practice Questions:

1. Once newspapers publishers and editors freed themselves from party control: a. They discovered they were able to influence public opinion and in turn, national politics.

2. The transformation of newspapers into instruments of mass communication meant that: a. Politicians frequently found themselves bowing to powerful editors and publishers.

3. TRUE OR FALSE: The golden age of newspapers was so named because they held a monopoly over mass communication and were the only outlet for national political news. a. TRUE


4. Today almost ___ percent of television households subscribe to cable or to satellite services.

a. 90%

5. The proliferation of alternative media gives viewers the opportunity:

a. to select the news sources they find most congenial with their political views. b. to see even more sensationalized news.

c. to opt out of political information all together

d. all of these 

6. What is an example of an infotainment news program?


7. The Watergate scandal broke and Richard Nixon was forced to resign largely due to which of the following?

a. The Senate investigation spurred by the “leaks” of “Deep Throat”, later revealed to be FBI Mark Felt

8. Which of the following is a strategy used to monitor elected leaders?

a. frequent elections 

b. executive orders

c. memoranda

9. The Sedition Act in 1798:

a. Expressly forbade any criticism of the president and Congress.

10. The greatest barrier to successful media exposure:

a. Is the sheer volume of competing news stories chasing media outlets on any given newsday.

11. TRUE OR FALSE: When a government seeks to prevent the publication and dissemination of written and recorded speech, it is exercising prior restraint.


12. In a trial balloon:

a. A politician “floats” a policy or some idea with a reporter on the condition that the source of the story remains anonymous.


Essay Questions:

1. Joe asks you to explain to him the kind of factors could lead to problems in the company’s survey, and whether he’d be better off treating his Great Uncle to Arby’s.

2. If you want to get elected, how do you need to position yourself ideologically? Does this change at any point in the campaign? If so, when? Be specific about the advantages of different ideological positions.

3. What is your electoral strategy? What states are you looking to spend money in? Why? Assuming you have a great deal of money, what strategies will your campaign focus on and why?

4. Your uncle is familiar with both of the modern parties, but he wants some additional background. Where did these parties come from? Have the Republicans and Democrats been around forever? Have there been periods where one party has dominated the other? How do you answer Great Uncle Frank’s inquiries?


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