POLS Exam 3 Review
POLS Exam 3 Review POLS 1101
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Date Created: 11/12/15
Kyla Brinkley POLS 1101 EXAM 3 REVIEW Fall 2015 Bakker I. Chapter 10: Public Opinion a. What is Public Opinion? i. Public opinion: “those opinions held by private persons which governments find it prudent to heed” ii. Every gov, democratic or otherwise, has to pay attention to public opinion in some way iii. Democracies focus on “heeding” potential voters and those who can sway potential voters at certain times (i.e. elections) iv. Our constitutional guarantees make it possible/essential for political leaders/policy advocates to try to shape & mobilize public opinion on behalf of their causes v. Ex: purpose of The Federalist was to sway educated public opinion in favor of the Constitution vi. Political parties arose from ambitious politicians seeking to squeeze political advantage from whatever issue excited the people 1. Anti-masonic Party 1930s a. Hysteria: secret societies 2. American (“Know-Nothing”) Party 1850s a. Anti-Irish-catholic immigrants vii. Other movements tried to mold public opinion: pamphlets, speeches, demonstrations, novels, etc. viii. Modern efforts to shape, measure, exploit public opinion 1. Scientific polling a. Devoted to sounding out the public on an endless array of issues b. Tool for systematically investigating the opinions of ordinary people 2. Public relations a. Devoted to marketing ideas, policies, and politicians b. Measuring Public Opinion i. Select random sample of population of interest, ask people in sample some appropriate questions about their views, count answers ii. Larger sample, more closely resembles entire population iii. Large sample also has less improvement in accuracy iv. Margin of error: sample’s division on a typical question will fall within 3 percentage points of the entire population’s division v. The approximate formula for the margin of error doesn’t require knowledge of the size of the entire population, only the size of the sample vi. Truly random sample rarely feasible: no single directory where everyone is listed and can be given a perfectly equal chance of being selected 1. Ex: polls using random landline phone numbers don’t’ reach those without phones or those who only use cell phones 2. Also, not everyone is willing to answer questions & this group of people is usually very different a. Common solution is to weigh responses of people in underrepresented demographic categories more heavily 3. Respondents also may not always understand poll questions, or answer them incorrectly a. Fit between words and concepts used in questions and how people actually think about issues is never perfect b. Opinion polling has grown into vast industry w/ endless stream of information about public’s views about almost any matter vii. presidents more reliant on grassroots public support for winning policy battles 1. line between campaigning & governing blurred viii. president has no monopoly on “tools of public persuasion” 1. All large modern institutions—gov agencies, political parties, corporations, universities..—employ public relations specialists whose job is to present the organization in the best possible light ix. Institutions also promote the expression of public opinion. x. Modern techniques for molding or measuring public opinion have contributed to the nationalization of American politics xi. National opinion emerged only as an aggregate of diversely measured local opinions 1. Advent of social polling has made it possible to measure and therefore to treat public opinion as a national phenomenon xii. The work to measure and shape public opinion has helped individual citizens to act collectively c. The Origins of Public Opinion i. Attitudes 1. Attitude: 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 a. Combines feelings, beliefs, thoughts, & predispositions to react in a certain way 2. People respond in ways that express the underlying attitudes evoked by the choices they face 3. Individuals differ widely in the attitudes they bring to bear on political choices 4. People also differ in how strongly they hold attitudes ii. Ideologies 1. Ideologies: a comprehensive, integrated set of views about government and politics a. Promote consistency among political attitudes by connecting them to something greater, a more general principle or set of principles 2. American ideological labels: liberal and conservative a. Liberals: typically favor using gov to reduce economic inequalities, champion the rights of disadvantaged groups such as racial minorities & women, and tolerate a more diverse range of social behaviors b. Conservatives: distrust gov and have greater faith in private enterprise & free markets, but they are more willing to use gov to enforce traditional moral standards i. Favor larger military & more assertive pursuit of national self-interest ii. Advocate lower taxes (esp. on investment income) to stimulate growth & restrict gov’s capacity to finance social welfare programs 3. Some people are libertarians: prefer to minimize gov regulation of social & economic behavior & oppose any military involvement except direct defense of US territory 4. Ideologies don’t guide the political thinking of most citizens, nor do the opinions most people express fall neatly into one ideological category or the other a. Apply them more to political issues/figures than themselves 5. Core values: moral beliefs held by citizens that underlie their attitudes toward political and other issues. As integral parts of an individuals’ identity, these beliefs are stable and resistant to change a. Attitudes that arise from the same core value will be in harmony, but because most people maintain more than one, attitudes also can conflict iii. Partisanship 1. For most Americans the political attitude that shapes opinions and organizes other political attitudes is disposition toward political parties 2. Large majority identify as Republican or Democrat 3. Party identification can be emphasized: a. Psychologically: Party preference can be seen as an element of personal identity b. Practically: people identify with certain party because have learned that the politicians produce preferred results 4. Party cues are imperfect 5. Party remains a default cue for many voters unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise 6. Americans interpret political phenomena in ways that favor the preferred party 7. Responses to political actors and events have become increasingly polarized along party lines over the past 30 years 8. Party identification affects beliefs & opinions 9. Attitudes introduce bias into perceptions & interpretations of political information because people pay more attention to sources and info that confirm rather than challenge their beliefs 10. More ambiguous situation, more prior attitudes like party identification shape beliefs iv. Acquiring Opinions 1. Attitudes derive from the practical experience of growing up & living in the social and political world 2. People adopt the values and beliefs that pay off in some way 3. Political socialization: the process by which citizens acquire political attitudes and beliefs a. Takes place during childhood/young adulthood but new experiences can alter attitudes at any stage of life 4. Attitudes are influenced by personal experiences but not dominated by them—influenced more by collective experiences a. Ex: most people base evaluations of president’s economic performance on their beliefs about the national economy, not on their own family’s economic fortunes b. Widely shared experiences give rise to the political ideas and opinions that are advanced by the various agents of political socialization c. Some experiences fix political thinking for generations i. Ex: segregation v. Information 1. People tend to develop more complex, richly informed attitudes only when the payoff is greater than the cost of doing so 2. People who aren’t in settings with many political ideas don’t have opportunity or incentive to developed informed, sophisticated political attitudes 3. People are “cognitive misers” reluctant to pay cost of acquiring information with no 4. Details of policy and lower-level political figures go unnoticed by most of the public a. Ignorance doesn’t prevent people from expressing opinions but uninformed opinions aren’t very stable b. Answers can be changed with question wording i. Poll questions are sometimes formulated to elicit maximum support for the views advocated by their sponsors vi. Framing 1. Ambivalence: a state of mind produced when particular issues evoke attitudes and beliefs that pull in opposite directions a. Response to pollster’s questions depends on the context: recent events, reference to potent symbols/images, questions from earlier in the survey 2. Framing explains how both the mass media and political campaigns can affect people’s expressed political opinions a. Messages sent by media and candidates don’t have to change underlying attitudes to change expressed opinions b. Just frame issue in way that draws out one response rather than the other 3. Priming: occurs when readers & 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 d. Is Public Opinion Meaningful? i. Despite deficiencies uncovered by survey research, public opinion continues to play a crucial & effective part in American politics because a variety of formal/informal political institutions give it shape and force ii. Aggregate public opinion: the sum of all individual opinions. More stable and coherent than individual opinions 1. Stability of Aggregate Public Opinion a. When there is no obvious reason to expect significant change, the distribution of opinion is highly stable b. When substantial changes in distribution of public opinion occur, they reflect intelligible historical trends or responses to changed conditions c. Opinion switches between liberal and conservative “moods” i. Changes in mood bring about changes in policy d. Aggregate opinion varies in coherent ways over the short term e. Aggregate partisanship: the distribution, or percentage, of the electorate that identifies with each of the political parties i. Shifts with changes in economic conditions, political events, & presidential approval f. When public opinion isn’t stable, its movements can be explained by real-world events 2. Opinion Leadership a. Measurement error: uncertainties in public opinion, as revealed by responses to polls, that arise from the imperfect connection between the wording of survey questions and the terms in which people understand and think about political objects b. A small segment of the public forms opinions by paying attention to political events/issues and the uninformed/inattentive majority free rides when forming opinion by taking cues from the opinion leaders c. Opinion leadership gives public opinion rationality and coherence and arises naturally as people respond to different incentives d. People are uninformed because better information holds no promise of a better outcome because the views of any single individual are unlikely to be decisive e. We avoid information costs by delegating opinion formation to (we hope) reliable agents f. Cognitive shortcut: a mental device allowing citizens to make complex decisions based on a small amount of information. For example a candidate’s party label serves as a shortcut by telling voters much about his or her positions on issues g. Many political issues go unnoticed except by issue publics: groups of citizens who are more attentive to particular areas of public policy than average citizens because they have some special stake in the issue i. Most policy domains are of concern only to issue publics, so it’s usually their opinions, not mass opinion, that matter to politicians h. Opinion leaders & issue publics are the main conduits of public opinions in a pluralist political system i. However, pluralism prevents opinion leaders to manipulate public opinion i. People have a basic for the opinions they express and respond to opinion leaders accordingly j. Public opinion as measured by polls influences public policy e. The Content of Public Opinion i. Political opinions reflect people’s underlying values & beliefs about how the world works ii. Consensus makes politics possible, disagreement within this general consensus makes politics necessary iii. Consensus on the System 1. Opinion polls find that almost every American supports the institutional underpinnings of modern democracy (bill of rights) 2. Many people favor things like gender wage equality but very little popular support exists for actually mandating equal outcomes iv. Politicians: A Suspect Class 1. Public’s distrust of the gov has increased since 2nd half of 20 century 2. More people believe public officials are crooked and the gov wastes tax money, can’t be trusted, is run with interest of a few, and doesn’t care about regular people 3. Caused by civil rights movement/Vietnam war and Watergate 4. Booming economy/balanced federal budget during Clinton helped but trust in gov still very low v. Public Opinion on Issues 1. When public is divided in different ways on different issues and lacks consensus on which are most important, strategies for assembling and maintaining party coalitions become more difficult to conceive & execute 2. Economic Issues a. Although Americans believe fundamentally in capitalism, almost no one believes that private businesses should be completely unregulated or that the things people value should be allocated exclusively by free market b. Large majorities typically support stable or increased gov spending for programs that serve nearly everyone (social security, Medicare, etc.) c. Americans seem to support wide range of economic & social welfare policies that are commonly classified as liberal but when it comes to principles Americans are more likely to think of themselves as conservatives 3. Social and Moral Issues a. Politics is about the distribution of goods, which can be moral or material b. Today social and moral issues produce some of the most heated political controversies i. Ex: abortion 1. Aggregate public opinion on abortion is highly stable but acutely sensitive to how issue is framed c. Americans take conservative position on most social issues but in practice views are often balanced by considerable respect for individual freedom 4. Foreign Policy a. Except when Americans are dying overseas, foreign policy issues tend to be remote from everyday experience, and few people pay sustained attention to foreign affairs b. In quiet times, public opinion on foreign policy is responsive to opinion leadership c. President is most important opinion leader on foreign policy but influence varies d. Drift and division on foreign policy ended almost instantly with the assaults on 9/11 i. Leaders in both parties and the public in general supported Bush administration’s initial actions f. Effects of Background on Public Opinion i. Politicians pay close attention to group differences because they determine feasible coalition-building strategies ii. Race and Ethnicity 1. Sharpest differences of opinion between major groups in US politics is between blacks and whites and biggest gap is related to race issues 2. Whites are against segregation and support equal opportunity but disagree with blacks about what should be done about lingering effects of racial discrimination 3. Blacks are more likely than whites to favor greater gov action to provide jobs, healthcare, and other gov services but less supportive of defense spending and foreign wars 4. Differing views reflect different perceptions & life experiences 5. Blacks usually vote Democratic 6. Other minority groups have different patterns of issue opinion/voting behavior because of economic status rather than ethnic views 7. Hispanics having lower incomes support more gov services—democrats 8. Asians have higher incomes—more conservative, more republican 9. It’s risky to generalize about groups but ethnic minorities express strong & distinctive political views on issues directly affecting their groups iii. Gender 1. Women are consistently less inclined than men to support the use of violence in foreign & domestic policy 2. Women have more favorable attitudes toward social welfare spending & regulations designed to protect the environment, consumers, & children 3. Recent gender gap: women more democratic, men more republican 4. Women & men actually don’t differ much on sex- related issues 5. Unmarried women are more democratic and account for most gender differences politically iv. Income and education 1. There is less class difference in regard to opinion than the framers expected 2. People with low incomes more inclined to support gov spending/social programs than those with high incomes a. Economic self-interest b. People getting more of the benefits tend to see greater merit in social programs than do those paying more of the costs 3. On noneconomic issues high income people are more liberal than low income: more to do with education a. More years of formal education leads to more liberal views v. Religion 1. Religious beliefs shape values 2. Differences in these beliefs often underlie differences in political opinions 3. People with no religious preference, Jewish, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists are more liberal on social issues 4. Evangelical protestants (southern Baptists, Pentecostals) are more conservative 5. Roman Catholics are in between vi. Other democratic divisions 1. Younger voters are more liberal on social and economic issues 2. People in city are more liberal than people in suburbs or rural areas 3. People on coasts or in upper Midwest are more liberal than people in south, plains, mountain states esp. on cultural issues 4. More affluent voters tend to be economic conservatives but social liberals 5. Voters with more modest incomes combine economic liberalism with social conservatism g. Public Opinion: A Vital Component of American Politics i. Individual opinions become public opinion only wen aggregated ii. The mass media report & interpret the collective political experiences that become the material basis for individual opinions iii. Opinion leaders provide the cues that the rationally ignorant majority uses as shortcuts to forming its opinion iv. Individual opinions are rooted in personal values and experiences but are shaped by and expresses through leaders and institutions II. Chapter 11: Voting, Campaigns, & Elections a. The Logic of Elections i. America = representative democracy ii. The size of the new America made self-government by direct democracy impossible (transaction costs) iii. Had to delegate authority to small number of representative agents 1. Any delegation of authority raises possibility of agency loss 2. When we engage someone to act on our behalf, we face the risk that they will but their interests above ours iv. Elections ameliorate the delegation problem 1. Give ordinary citizens say in who represents them 2. Prospect of future elections gives officeholders who want to keep (or improve) their jobs a motive to be responsive agents 3. Elections provide incentives for the small set of citizens who want to replace the current officeholders to keep a close eye on representatives and tell everyone else about any misconduct they detect v. Elections don’t guarantee faithful representations vi. US holds more elections for more public offices than any other nation b. The Right to Vote i. Every American colony had a property qualification for voting 1. Also these groups could not vote: Catholics, Jews, Native Americans, freed black slaves 2. Women rarely allowed to vote ii. When Constitution was adopted only half of the free adult male population could vote iii. Wider Suffrage for Men 1. Most adults were poor, illiterate, & dependent: servants, tenants, paupers, etc.—COULDN’T VOTE 2. Upper-class minority: well-born/educated took right to govern for granted a. Didn’t want the poor to change social order or have a say 3. But more men could vote in American colonies because it was easier to acquire land 4. “no taxation without representation” demanded home rule but also implied that anyone who paid taxes should have right to vote 5. Declaration of Independence lead to more voting rights: all men created equal 6. Universal suffrage for white men was achieved in the 1840s a. Jacksonian democracy iv. Suffrage for Women 1. Other groups slowly gained suffrage after white males 2. Women’s suffrage movement grew directly out of antislavery movement th a. Technically 15 amendment allowed black men to vote but not black or white women- frustrating b. But, white southerners preventing black men from voting further barred women as well 3. Women’s suffrage gained through protests as well as expansion of education/entry of women into workforce outside the home th 4. Women’s suffrage: 19 amendment, 1920 v. Suffrage for African Americans, Young Americans 1. Voting Rights Act 1965: signed by LBJ, abolished barriers that prevented minorities from voting th 2. 26 amendment, 1971, lowered voting age to 18 in response to Vietnam War a. Most of the troops fighting in Vietnam were under 21 b. Those who risk their lives on the battlefield should have a voice in governing the nation they are defending c. Who Uses the Right to Vote? i. Elections have collective benefits: free rider problems 1. People enjoy payoffs of elections even if they haven’t helped produce them by voting 2. Likelihood that a single vote will influence anyone is minute 3. Also, if there is no real chance that a vote will be decisive, it doesn’t matter if the vote is right or wrong 4. Ignorance, like abstention from voting, is rational ii. Individual Factors Affecting Turnout 1. Age/education have strongest influence on voting 2. Blacks, Hispanics, people living in the South are less likely to vote 3. People with deeper roots in their communities (longtime residents, people with jobs) more likely to vote 4. People with greater confidence in their own ability to understand & engage in politics (internal efficacy) and in their ability to influence the decisions of gov (external efficacy) are more likely to vote 5. People w/ stronger partisan views/electoral preferences and those who live in areas with active parties/competitive campaigns are more likely to vote 6. Turnout is higher when legal barriers to registration are lower 7. Voting rates for men & women are about the same a. Also those who distrust gov are also just as likely to vote as everyone else b. There HAS been a decline in participation between the 1960s & 1990s but it did not result from the increase in public cynicism/mistrust since 1960 8. People participate when they can meet the costs & appreciate the benefits, so voting is rational for the millions of people who gain personal satisfaction from voting because expressing themselves through voting outweighs the modest cost of casting a ballot iii. Institutional Factors Affecting Turnout 1. Institutional context, like variations in registration laws, affect turnout equally a. poll taxes, literacy tests, requirements to register periodically discouraged blacks from voting after the Civil War, but also poor whites b. after the voting rights act, voting in both groups increased sharply 2. before 2012, many states required a photo ID to vote, raising cost of participation for poor/minority voters who are less likely to have driver’s licenses or passports a. they are likely to vote for democrats, so usually republicans supported this requirement 3. social connections also create personal incentives to participate 4. often, people participate because they are asked, so many candidates implore everyone to vote a. ex: Obama 2008, 2012 5. wealthy, well educated, older white people are overrepresented while poor, uneducated, young nonwhites are underrepresented a. unequal resources b. people w/ social advantages more mobilized by parties, interest groups, campaign orgs c. political leaders target people who are cheapest to reach/likeliest to respond iv. Variations in Turnout over Time 1. Turnout declined from 68% in 1952-1968 to 55% in 1992-2000 and back up to 58% after 2012 election a. Easier registration/increased formal education had positive effect on turnout b. BUT, letting 18 year olds vote reduced turnout because it added to the pool a group least likely to vote (those under 25) c. Also, less people had deep community roots, felt politically efficacious, for felt strongly about parties/candidates d. Major reasons were institutional i. Decline in mobilization: “getting out the vote”. Occurs when activists working for parties, candidates, or interest groups ask members of the electorate to vote ii. Media campaigns are expensive so more efforts are used to mobilize voters in more competitive races only 1. After civil rights movement efforts to get blacks to vote declined 2. Same with decline of labor movement iii. Decline was especially evident in poor, uneducated citizens—most dependent on outside stimulation 1. Smaller electorate=larger upper- class bias v. How Do Voters Decide? 1. Voter has to choose candidate they think will produce a better outcome in some relevant sense than another candidate 2. Because effect of each single vote is small, people don’t but much effort into acquiring info that will reduce uncertainty a. Use simple cues/cognitive shortcuts and rely heavily on the free info delivered by news media, campaign ads, opinion leaders, & their own experience vi. Past Performance & Incumbency 1. Many people vote for incumbents who have performed well 2. Presidents seeking reelection are often held accountable for national economy a. Inflation, unemployment, economic growth rates b. Economic problems hurt Carter & H.W. Bush but helped Reagan & Clinton get reelected c. Reagan: “are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?” 3. Presidents also reviewed for conduct of foreign policy 4. Performance of reps & senators is measured by their success in providing services/projects for their states/districts or casting acceptable votes in congress 5. Some voters hold president’s party as a whole responsible a. Democrats lost control of the House in 2010 midterm elections vii. Assessing the Issues & Policy Options 1. Personal experience provides lots of politically relevant info 2. Those w/o direct experience w/ certain issues learn about them through the news media 3. Many people also compare future policy options of each candidate 4. Single-issue voters: people who base their votes on candidates’ or parties’ positions on one particular issue of public policy, regardless of the candidates’ or parties’ positions on other issues 5. Other voters may focus on a bundle of issues viii. Voter Cues & Shortcuts 1. Voter take cues from opinion leaders because the free information about candidates’ positions provided by news media/campaigns can’t always be taken at face value 2. Voters make predictions based on the candidate’s personal characteristics a. Competence b. Experience c. Honesty d. Knowledge e. Leadership skills f. Sex g. Race h. Ethnicity i. Age j. Place of residence 3. Voters feel that people who ae like them are more likely to think and act as they would, which helps because much of what these agents do is out of public sight a. Can’t monitor behavior of elected officials 4. Party label: a label carrying the party’s “brand name”, incorporating the policy positions and past performance voters attribute to it 5. Performance voting: voting for the party in control, or “in-party” when one thinks the government is performing well and voting for the “outs” when one thinks the party in charge is performing poorly 6. Issue voting: voting for candidates based on their positions on specific issues, as opposed to their party or personal characteristics 7. Most voters drastically simplify their electoral evaluations and decisions by developing a consistent bias in favor of the candidates of one of the major parties, making the party label the most influential “endorsement” of all ix. The Power of Party Identification 1. Party identification: an individual’s enduring affective or instrumental attachment to one of the political parties; the most accurate single predictor of voting behavior 2. The connection between party identification & vote choice varies over time but is always quite powerful 3. There are enough independents & partisan defectors to keep party identification alone from determining who wins or loses elections d. Election Campaigns i. Experienced campaigners are aware of voters’ reliance on free info & cognitive shortcuts and create strategies accordingly ii. The Basic Necessities: Candidates & Messages 1. Basic necessities of any campaign: candidate, message, way to inform voters about both 2. Candidate: a person who is running for elected office a. Must be portrayed as sufficiently qualified/trustworthy for the job 3. Quality of House & Senate candidates varies with their prospects for success a. The smaller the chances of winning, the less likely the talented & ambitious are to run 4. Getting out the Message a. Message: in a political campaign, the central thematic statement of why voters should prefer one candidate over others i. Shaped by candidates’ theories about the political beliefs, perceptions, values, and responses of different segments of the electorate b. Campaigns invest heavily in research c. Focus group: a method of gauging public opinion by observing a small number of people brought together to discuss specific issues, usually under the guidance of a moderator i. Test themes, monitor effects of campaign ads/events d. Campaign messages are chosen opportunistically for pres. and Congress e. Candidates work hard to convey message that they understand & care about the concerns of their fellow citizens i. Despite backgrounds, show they chare common ground w/ all voters ii. “a candidate I would want to have a beer with” iii. Empathy f. Acquiring & maintaining a public image appropriate to the office sought is a particular challenge for pres. candidates, who are subject to intense scrutiny by their opponents & the news media i. Campaigns start shortly after the midterm election if not sooner g. Fight for attention & ensure that they shape their own public image h. Candidates w/ famous names and money have an advantage but are also targeted i. Money doesn’t always win nomination i. Televised debates are also a challenge and are expected i. Usually independent/minor party candidates are excluded ii. Demand preparation/rehearsal iii. Rarely cover new campaign ground iv. Popular because shows candidates up close under pressure v. Helps voters frame choices vi. Candidates in House and Senate usually avoid debates to deny their obscure opponents free publicity/opportunity to upstage them 5. Negative Campaigning: pointed personal criticism of the other candidate. Normal sometimes ugly component of the electoral process, and effective a. People hate it and remember it b. Negative ads exploit voters’ uncertainty inherent in the delegation of authority to powerful agents c. Inform people about candidates but make them less enthusiastic about voting at all d. Negative or not campaign ads are rarely subtle because their targets are the rationally ignorant, marginally involved voters who haven’t made up their minds e. Simplicity, repetition, exaggeration, symbolism (images of home, family, neighborhood, flag) f. Accuracy not a priority g. Successful campaign i. Goal is to win majority of votes, not every vote ii. Planners research to figure out target voters iii. Swing voters important iv. Highlight candidates strengths & opponent’s weaknesses v. Single theme to show why candidate should be elected and opponent should not vi. Need money iii. The Other Necessity: Campaign Money 1. Voters need to hear about candidate 2. For most of US history, party orgs/newspapers were sources of political propaganda a. Marches, rallies, picnics, speakers, door to door canvassing, distributed pamphlets, broadsides, posters b. Campaign was a team affair 3. After WWII, TV gained popularity as campaign medium a. Parties lost central role b. By 1960s parties province of individual candidates & their personal orgs c. Candidates assemble own campaign teams, raise funds, hire consultants, design strategies d. This costs $$$ 4. Regulating Campaign Money a. Currently all the money spent on major campaigns for federal offices comes from private sources b. Privately financed elections raise 2 problems for American democracy i. Democracy demand political equality: one person, one vote. But because money is distributed unequally, its role in electoral politics threatens democratic equality ii. Privately financed elections raise the suspicion that elected officials will serve as agents of their contributors rather than of their constituents. iii. Dilemma: meaningful elections require money but the pursuit of money can subvert the very purpose of elections c. Prior to 1970s campaign money was unregulated d. Later, higher costs accelerated demand for campaign money and the fear that winners would favor contributors over constituents e. Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) 1971, amended 1974. Provided partial public funding for presidential campaigns and required full public reporting of & strict limits on all contributions & expenditures in federal elections i. Established Federal Election Commission to enforce the law and collect/publish info on campaign contributions/spending ii. Buckley v. Valeo (1976), Supreme Court upheld reporting requirements/contribution limits but rejected spending limits because they limited free speech (1 amendment) iii. Liberalized by congress in 1979 to allow unrestricted contributions/spending for state/local party-building and get-out- the-vote activities f. Soft money: money used by political parties for voter registration, public education, and voter mobilization. Until 2002, when congress passed legislation outlawing soft money, the gov had imposed no limit on contributions or expenditures for such purposes i. “hard money” was spend under FECA limitations ii. Banned by Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act 5. The Flow of Campaign Money a. Outpaces inflation—has grown b. Supply & demand have driven campaign spending up c. Grows because stakes represented by elections are so great d. Incentives to influence who gets elected and what they do in office e. Candidates appetite for campaign funds rows because cost of spreading message to voters increases f. In congress, choices made by contributors, candidates, parties, and independent committee entrepreneurs affect budget a lot g. Congressional candidate contributions come from: individuals, political action committees (PACs), their personal funds, and party orgs h. Coordinated campaign spending: spending by the democratic & republican party committees on behalf of individual congressional candidates i. Independent campaign spending: campaign spending—by a person or org for or against a political candidate—that isn’t controlled by or coordinated with any candidate’s campaign j. Congressional parties help candidates by encouraging incumbents in safe seats to pass some of the money on to needier candidates k. Although House and Senate elections are mostly candidate centered in activities/messages, national parties have a bigger role in financing them than when FECA was adopted l. All types of contributors/independent spenders, with exception of candidates themselves, distribute funds strategically i. Don’t waste resources on hopeless candidates ii. Want to make a difference m.Congressional incumbents have least trouble raising funds n. How much candidates are able to raise and spend matters to the degree that a lack of money prevents candidates from getting message out to voters i. Little effect on general election results for pres. 1. Money is spent by party orgs and ind. Committees on their behalf o. What matters is how voters respond to competing campaign messages p. Campaign money matters more in presidential primaries because voters have to know more about the candidates than their party i. Lesser known candidates have to raise more money q. In house and senate races lack of money is usually decisive i. Voters reject candidates they know nothing about ii. But campaign spending has little effect on incumbents because voters already know them r. For incumbents, spending more is actually a sign of weakness: scared they won’t get reelected i. For challengers, more spending shows electoral strength ii. Don’t have to outspend incumbent to win, just have to spend enough to be known 6. How Are Campaign Funds Spent? a. If candidate has weak opponent might give it to another candidate (ex: in congress) who needs it b. Largest expense is advertising i. Tv/radio most expensive c. Senate uses broadcast more d. House uses “persuasion mail” more to reach districts e. Efficiency f. Small proportion goes towards traditional campaigning: speeches, rallies, soliciting votes door to door, shaking hands i. But still important g. “earned media”—gimmicks h. Running paid ads to provoke controversy & gain news coverage i. Modern pres. campaigns: basically made for tv j. Exploit soft news & entertainment shows i. Talk and comedy shows: Oprah, Larry King, SNL k. Media coverage: rich get richer and poor get ignored i. Best-funded campaigns get most attention from news media ii. Poorly funded candidates may be desperate for news coverage cause they can’t afford airtime but the fact that they are poor makes them look like losers and not worth covering anyway iii. If a campaign depends on news coverage to get message out, it will fail l. Lots of money also goes to staff salaries, offices, equipment, travel, website, etc. m.Fundraising is also a big expense 7. Where Are Presidential Campaign Funds Spent? a. Tv advertising invested heavily by pres. candidates b. Electoral college focuses on states with large number of electoral votes that are not securely in one party’s camp rather than on the national electorate c. Whoever wins the most popular votes in a state except for Maine and Nebraska gets all of its electoral votes no matter how narrow the margin of victory i. Object of pres. campaign is to get at least 270 electoral votes d. When election is expected to be close, strategy is to focus on swing states/battle ground states i. States not on the battleground lists are often ignored iv. Money and Elections: Policy Issues 1. Elections are supposed to keep agents responsive by making them compete with other would-be agents for the votes needed to win and hold their jobs 2. Serious electoral competition is expensive 3. Gather large amount of money from people and groups whose values and interest may differ from those of voters a. Suspicion that candidates are more responsive to financial supporters than voters, undermining purpose of elections and eventually democracy 4. Access: the ability of privileged outsiders, such as interest group representatives, to obtain a hearing from elected officials or bureaucrats 5. News media and self-proclaimed public interest lobbies have convinced most Americans that campaign donations buy specific policy favors 6. It is impossible for most candidates to raise enough money in small donations to conduct a competitive campaign 7. The ultimate barrier to a more egalitarian campaign finance system is the 1 amendment as currently interpreted by the Supreme Court a. Even if campaigns were fully funded by tax dollars & private contributions to candidates prohibited, people & orgs would remain free to spend all the money they could gather on independent campaigns supporting or attacking candidates 8. Fundamental changes to the campaign finance system are unlikely because there is no consensus on what would count as an improvement or how to achieve it a. Large effort b. But it remains remarkably pluralistic: not necessarily a bad thing c. Voters still have the last word e. The Logic of Elections Revisited i. Despite all the problems w/ US elections, they work remarkably well to preserve American democracy ii. Regular, free, competitive elections guard the nation against the dangers that arise when citizens delegate authority to govs iii. Elections allow citizens, as principals, to pick their agents and fire/replace those performing badly iv. Threat of replacement provides elected officials w/ incentive to listen to constituents v. Elections also create incentives for entrepreneurs and orgs to solve free-rider & coordination problems that beset citizens acting as collective principals III. Chapter 12: Political Parties a. The Constitution’s Unwanted Offspring i. The constitution contains no mention of political parties ii. During nation’s founding, parties were considered to be dangerous to good government and public order, esp. in republics 1. Fear of parties reflected historical experience & 18 th century social beliefs iii. People in authority saw themselves as agents on behalf of the whole community iv. The first parties were created to be temporary v. The design of the Constitution had a profound effect on the kind of parties that developed vi. Incentives for Party Building 1. When action requires winning majorities on a continuing basis in multiple settings, organization is essential 2. Constitution’s provisions for enacting laws & electing leaders put huge premium on building majority alliances across institutions & electoral units 3. Parties grew out of the efforts of political entrepreneurs to build alliances/coordinate collective activity necessary to control the gov 4. To Build Stable Legislative & Electoral Alliances a. To control policy consistently, legislative leaders found it advantageous to cultivate a stable group of supporters, forming durable alliances that sharply reduced the transaction costs of negotiating a winning coalition on each new proposal b. Alliances that cross institutional boundaries are important because lawmaking powers are shared by pres, house and senate c. Alliances are, by necessity, coalitions i. Participants have to agree to cooperate on action even though they have different, conflicting reasons for doing so ii. Participants cooperate only as long as it serves their purposes d. Coalitions vying for majority status need to recruit like-minded candidates & work to elect them i. Successful alliances in Washington depend on successful electoral alliances in the states & districts e. The presidential selection rules also offer powerful incentives for building electoral alliances across districts & states f. The problem is to sustain cooperation among numerous politicians, often with competing purposes & interests, across great distances i. The degree to which that effort succeeds results in national party organization 5. To Mobilize Voters a. Electoral alliances fail if they can’t get enough people to vote for their candidates b. Before the Constitution i. Restrictions on suffrage ii. Those who could vote made their preferences known orally & in public, encouraging deference to the local gentry iii. Open pursuit of political office was thought to be unseemly 1. Campaigns had to be conducted on the sly through friends/allies c. After constitution i. Property/other qualifications for white male voting reduced/eliminated ii. Size of electorate increased, so identifying/attracting supporters became more important iii. Whoever could win over the new voters would have a political advantage 6. To Develop New Electoral Techniques a. Once organized, electoral parties initiated new relationships between voters & elected leaders b. Party organizers turned to mass communications to excite voters w/ emotional appeals on issues i. Newspapers, pamphlets, public letters, printed speeches c. Anyone trying to mobilize citizens to vote also has to overcome the electorate’s tendency to free ride i. (because a party’s victory is a collective good that people get to enjoy whether or not they vote) 7. To Use Party Labels & Enforce Collective Responsibility a. Party labels offer a serviceable shorthand cue that keeps voting decisions cheap & simple b. Informative, more accurate labels better allow people to determine what a candidate will do in office c. The more voters rely on party cues, the more valuable party labels are to candidates d. Once they have adopted the party label, politicians have a personal stake in maintaining the value of their party’s “brand name” i. May impose conformity costs by requiring the subordination of their own views & ambitions to the party’s welfare & reputation e. Party labels allow voters to reward or punish elected officials as a group for their performance in office f. Parties developed into 3-part systems connecting: i. The party in government 1. Alliance of current officeholders cooperating to shape public policy ii. The party organization 1. Dedicated to electing the party’s candidates iii. The party in the electorate 1. Composed of those voters who identify with the party & regularly vote for its nominees vii. Basic Features of the Party System 1. Parties emerged because the institutional structures & processes established by the Constitution made them too useful to forgo 2. Certain features reappear in every historical party system because they reflect the basic constitutional structure of American government: a. Competition between 2 major parties made up of decentralized, fragmented party coalitions that are maintained by professional politicians 3. Two-Party Competition a. Two-party system: a political system in which only 2 major parties compete for all of the elective offices. 3 party candidates usually have few, if any chances of winning elective office i. Has continued in the US because there is a strong tendency for serious competitors to be reduced to 2 because people tend to vote strategically ii. If their favorite party’s candidate has no chance, they turn to the less objectionable of the major-party candidates who does have a chance to win: Duverger’s Law iii. Office seekers, aware of this pattern, usually join one of the 2 competitive parties iv. Surprisingly, only an election or 2 is required after the disruption of old party alliances and the appearance of new party coalitions for voters to narrow the viable choices down to 2 1. incentives to expand electoral coalitions also help reduce the number of parties to 2 b. Most democracies have more than 2 parties\ c. Proportional representation: a party receives legislative seats in proportion to its share of votes. Used in many European democracies i. Helps preserve smaller parties because votes for their candidates aren’t wasted d. Fusion tickets: slates of candidates that “fused” the nominees of minor & major parties. Fusion tickets, eventually banned by state legislatures, allowed minor parties to boost their votes by nominating candidates also nominated by major parties rd e. Only those 3 parties (or independent candidates) that manage to supplant one of the 2 reigning parties as a viable option in voters’ minds gain rather than use support from strategic voters 4. Decentralized, Fragmented Party Coalitions a. Another reason the 2 party system endures is that federalism fragments the political system b. The decentralized policymaking system allowed these local parties to work together to elect national leaders while going their own way on matters closer to home c. Skillful management & the compelling need to hold these factions together for any chance at office have usually (not always) kept the parties from self-destructing 5. Professional Politicians a. Political power flowed into the hands of people with the skills to build networks of party workers, manage alliances of local leaders, and mobilize voters on election day b. Personal wealth, education, and status were still advantages, but they were no longer essential c. Eventually the variety & frequency of elections generated by the multilayered federal system made party management a full-time job in many places d. Patronage: the practice of awarding jobs, grants, licenses, or other special favors in exchange for political support i. Reforms destroyed patronage-based party orgs in the late 1800s-early 1900s b. The Development & Evolution of the Party Systems i. There have been 6 p
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