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Chapter 5 Notes

by: D'Angel Brooks

Chapter 5 Notes POLS 1101 096

D'Angel Brooks

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About this Document

Covers the notes taken in class and from the book
Into to American Government and Politics
Lakeyta Monique Bonnette (P)
Class Notes
values, Opinions, polls, ideology
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by D'Angel Brooks on Tuesday October 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1101 096 at Georgia State University taught by Lakeyta Monique Bonnette (P) in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Into to American Government and Politics in Government at Georgia State University.


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Date Created: 10/11/16
Chapter 5 – Public Opinion and Political Socialization Public Opinion- Citizen's attitudes about political issues, leaders, institutions, and events Values/beliefs- basic principles that shape a person's opinions about political issues and events Political Ideologies  Ideology is a difficult subject, because most Americans do not fit on the typical ideology scale, of left to right. Ideology defined- a consistent reaction between individual opinions Liberals- believe in a strong role for government in regulating equality. A weak role for government in regulating order. Conservatives - believe in limited government in regulating equality. A strong government in regulating order. In contemporary American politics... Liberals generally support:  Political and social reform  Extensive government intervention in the economy  Expanding social services concern for consumers and the environment Conservatives generally support:  Support the social and economic status quo  Are suspicious of efforts to introduce new political formulas and economic arrangements  Support expansions of military and police powers  Believe that a large and powerful domestic state poses a threat to citizens' freedom The left-right Continuum, on size of government Liberal_________________________________________________________Conservative Moderates How Political Values are Formed The processes by which political values are formed are known collectively as political socialization. Agencies of socialization include:  Family (the most dominant)  Social groups  Religious organizations  Education  Prevailing political conditions The Impact of Family:  Party preferences are initially acquired at home  Liberalism and Conservative are similarly learned at home *It is important to note, however, that these are merely tendencies and many people have different political outlooks than their parents and other family members.* Groups as agencies of political socialization: Involuntary Social Groups- like gender, race, ethnicity : provide specific life experiences and responses to political acts that shape our political values  There exists, for example, a gender gap on a number of issues whereby women tend to have different political views than men. Voluntary Social Groups- like political parties, labor unions, and professional associations : tend to raise the political awareness and sensitivity of their numbers and, in doing so, shape their values  These groups often educate their members on political matters including pointing out their common political interests Education and Political Socialization- governments use public education to instill common civic values in most citizens  The amount of education that a person receives is tied in important ways to her or his political activism and political views. Political Conditions as an Agency of Socialization:  Inspiration or recruitment by politicians or political movements can lead to an individual's becoming more politically aware.  Coming of political age at a particular time can have a powerful impact on a person's political values throughout his or her life. How We Form Political Opinions Opinions about specific political questions are formed, in part, by citizens' interactions with others. Opinions about issues and politics have emotional underpinnings. Political opinions are shaped in the marketplace of ideas by:  Political leaders  Private groups  The media  Agents of Socialization  Popular Culture Shaping Public Opinion: Media Media:  are very effective at telling Americans what issues are important  Can, at times, frame what it means for a politician to be successful  Can sometimes also shape how people understand the meaning of a conflict Political Knowledge is Key: Citizens are knowledgeable about politics: 1. Tend to have consistent ideologies 2. Are less likely to be influenced by others 3. Have a higher sense of political efficacy The Public Opinion Poll  Polls are used to identify the distribution of the population's beliefs about politics and policy.  Scientific polling uses samples, which include a small proportion of the population selected to represent the population as a whole. Random Sample: a method used by pollsters to select a representative sample in which every individual in the population has an equal probability of being selected as a respondent. Random Digit Dialing generates a random sample by selecting respondents at random from a list of 10-digit telephone numbers. Sample size: a sample must be large enough to provide an accurate representation of the population. *All samples have sampling error(or a margin of error): polling error that arises based on the small size of the sample* Problems with Polls Are politicians leading or following the polls? Evidence suggests both. Government hardly insulated from public opinion, as Founders designed Many polls aren't scientific (don’t randomly sample), yet people draw conclusions from them anyway.  Internet polls, call-in polls, mail-in surveys Findings may change due to question wording and question ordering. Be careful of the source. Poor question format, faulty ordering of questions, poor vocabulary, ambiguity of questions, ore questions with built-in biases can also affect the reliability of the results. Measuring Public Opinion : Social Desirability and Selection Bias When polls are wrong: Social desirability effects: the effect that results when respondents in a survey report what they expect the interviewer wishes to hear rather than what they believe. Selection Bias: polling error that arises when the sample is not representative of the population being studied, which creates errors in overrepresentating or underrepresenting some opinions. Polls and their results can also influence public opinion. Poll results can produce the bandwagon effect , whereby there is a shift in support to a candidate or opinion because polls portray its popularity. Push polling is a technique in which the questions asked in a poll are designed not to measure a respondent's opinion but to change it.


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