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American Politics: Week 6 Notes

by: Makayla Prince

American Politics: Week 6 Notes POLS 1110 - 003

Makayla Prince
GPA 3.2

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About this Document

These notes cover all material covered in week six.
American Politics
Jason Giersch
Class Notes
american politics, political science
25 ?




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Makayla Prince on Sunday February 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1110 - 003 at University of North Carolina - Charlotte taught by Jason Giersch in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see American Politics in Political Science at University of North Carolina - Charlotte.

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Date Created: 02/21/16
American Politics   Notes­ week 6    Public Opinion and Political Action  ● The distribution of the population’s beliefs about politics and policies   ● Not just the “average” opinion   ● Efforts to influence the selection of political leaders or policies   ● Not just voting    In a democracy, people matter  ● Who lives here? who votes?   ● What groups are growing in size?   ● How can people’s voices be heard?   ● Should we tell politicians what to do? Or do we entrust them to tell us what to do?     Immigrant Society  ● A nation of nations   ­ 1 million legal immigrants per year   ­ 500,000 illegal immigrants per year   ­ 12% of residents are foreign born   ● Waves of immigration   ­ Northwest Europe   ­ Africa   ­ Southern and Eastern Europe   ­ Hispanics   ­ Asians     Restrictions on Immigration   ● Open door policy   ● Criminals, prostitutes, lunatics, diseased (1875)   ● Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)   ● Johnson­Reid Immigration Act (1924)­ regional quotas   ● Hart­Celler Immigration and Nationality Act (1965)  ­ Family integration (would a skills basis be better?)   ● Simpson­Mazzoli Act (1986)­ proof of immigration status for employment     American Melting Pot   ● Political culture and assimilation   ● Will new groups assimilate?   ­ There is often a fear that they won’t    Regional Shift   ● Northeast most populations   ● West and South growing since WWII  ­ Sun belt migration: Arizona, Texas, Florida    ­ Political power of these areas increasing   ● Reapportionment   ­ Made once each decade, after census     Graying of America   ● Over 65­ fastest growing age group   ­ People are living longer   ­ Fertility rate decreasing   ● Implications for Social Security   ­ Ratio changing   ­ Politically­sensitive     We are a democracy, so who we are matters  ● Age  ● Race  ● Culture  ● Religion  ● Wealth     Process of Political Socialization   ● Civics class as the tip of the iceberg   ● Family   ­ Central role   ­ Time and emotional commitment   ● Mass media   ­ The new parents (and teachers)   ­ Age gap in following politics­ more media, less news   ● School­ the government’s only real chance of socializing the young  ­ Value the US political system, free enterprise, and democracy     Political Learning over a Lifetime   ● Increasing participation with age   ● Party identification strengthens   ● Political behavior is learned   ● Why don’t we make a big deal over someone’s first vote?     Measuring Public Opinion and Political Information   ● How polls are conducted   ● Role of Polls in American Democracy  ● What polls reveal about Americans’ political information   ● Decline of trust in government     How Polls are Conducted   ● Sample  ● Random Sample  ● Sampling error  ● Random digit dialing   ­ Cell phones  ● Internet polling     Roll of Polls in American Democracy   ● Polling as a tool for democracy: pros and cons  ­ Gauge opinion between elections   ­ Following rather than leading   ­ Pandering or shaping?  ­ Bandwagon effect  ● Exit Polls  ­ Affect election results   ● Question Wording     What Polls Reveal about Americans’ Political Information   ● Americans are uninformed   ­ Jeffersonian faith in wisdom of common people unfounded  ­ Young people most uninformed   ● Who is responsible for the ill­informed electorate?   ­ Is it the schools’ fault?  ­ Is it the media’s fault?  ● Paradox of mass politics     Decline of Trust in Government   ● The great slide  ­ Vietnam war   ­ Watergate   ­ Economy/hostage crisis   ● Is public cynicism good?  ­ Negative effect on programs for poor     What Americans Value: Political Ideologies   ● Who are the liberals and Conservatives?   ● Do people think in ideological terms?    Who are the Liberals and Conservatives?  ● Conservatives Dominate   ­ 41% conservative/ 21% liberal   ­ Younger people are less conservative   ­ Minorities less conservative   ­ Wealthy more conservative   ­ Gender gap  ­ Religious more conservative     Do People Think in Ideological Terms?  ● Types of voters   ­ ideologues   ­ Group benefits   ­ Nature of the times  ­ No issue content   ● Ideology of limited importance   ­ Seen as threat to family     How Americans Participate in Politics  ● Conventional participation   ● Protest as participation   ● Class, Inequality, and Participation     Conventional Participation   ● Conventional Participation   ­ Voting  ­ Running for Office  ­ Collecting signatures for a petition   ● Unconventional Participation   ­ Protesting   ­ Civil Disobedience   ­ Violence     Protest as Participation   ● Drawing attention   ­ Protests attract the media  ­ Rare  ● Civil Disobedience  ­ Breaking unjust laws   ● Violence     Class, Inequality, and Participation   ● Higher socio­economic status = higher participation rates   ­ Minorities vote at nearly equal levels   ● What are the policy implications of lower political participation?    Understanding Public Opinion and Political Action   ● Public attitudes toward the scope of government   ● Democracy, public opinion, and political action     Public Attitudes Toward the Scope of Government   ● Should government do more or less?  ­ In peacetime, most Americans say “less”  ● But public opinion is complex and inconsistent   ­ Ideological conservatives   ­ Operational liberals   ­ Policy gridlock     Democracy, Public Opinion, and Political Action   ● Representative Democracy   ­ Decide who governs   ● Is the public fit to choose its leaders?  ­ Yes and no  


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