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Introduction to Political Analysis

by: Pasquale Stokes

Introduction to Political Analysis PSC 202

Marketplace > Syracuse University > Political Science > PSC 202 > Introduction to Political Analysis
Pasquale Stokes
GPA 3.53


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Class Notes
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This 17 page Class Notes was uploaded by Pasquale Stokes on Wednesday October 21, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 202 at Syracuse University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see /class/225582/psc-202-syracuse-university in Political Science at Syracuse University.

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Date Created: 10/21/15
Statistical Arguments O O O amp Assumptions Using statistics to support arguments 0 Statistical Arguments amp O o Assumptions Na Statistical concepts Examples of statistics in contemporary policy and political arguments Where to find statistics and how to use them Trying to make sure statistics are valid and reliable o f Statistical concepts 0 Textbook definitions 6 0 Data collected information which is represented by numbers 0 Statistics a set of mathematical techniques used to organize and manipulate data for the purpose of answering questions and testing theories J Healey Statistics A political definition attributed to O O O Winston Churchill I gather young man that you wish to be a Member of Parliament The first lesson that you must learn is when I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than when anyone else was Prime Minister That is a political statistic O O 0 Important points from Cuzzort amp Vrettos 0 Statistical reasoning is used every day 0 now what is typical or atypical we are interested in relationships risks probabilities o A sense of statistical reasoning helps you to think systematically and logically about a problem or an argument O O 0 Eight Statistical Ideas 0 Careful counting 0 Central tendency averages typicality o Nontypicality or deviation 0 Samples 0 Relationships 0 Control 0 Categorization OOO Examples Statistics are everywhere In the New York Times backing up claims about 0 Attempts to reduce traffic congestion in London 0 Levels of autism in New Jersey 0 Economic changes in Connecticut towns OOO SameSex Marriages Accordtn rrFrancrsccr assessormoider 4037 samesex 525 2 carrege utlege anuriigrier Pmple Came riom all states mam Marne Mississipm rtesr Virginia and Wyumrng OOO Estirrraterl numlrer ct active illicit drug users in 2002 age 12 and elder lvlar Prescrrptrcnclrrrns Most Abused Drugs Prescriptron drugs were tlre second most commonly abused type cl drugs accordrng to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health lllellrernplretarnrne innalarrts Her tso Sauce US SJDEr E39WEADlEe end il eorsi ti arli39i Seuwesrlorrrwslreten Voter Involvement 1829 years 30 plus years 000 2004 2000 2004 News 36 49 48 51 Talk 29 39 30 31 Think 26 43 50 54 O O 0 Statistics in political arguments Althaus amp Largio 0 911 Commission found no evidence of collaborative relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda 0 Yet the public continues to believe in a connection WHY 0 Article uses LexisNexis database of media coverage and public opinion polls to explain the misperception O O 0 Using and finding statistics o Describing or estimating the magnitude ofa problem eg crime rate 0 Identifying change or overtime trends eg timing of unemployment increases 0 Demonstrating correlations or co occurrences to claim causality o Demonstrating policy impact change in target variable O O 0 Census data Census website vwvwcensusgov 0 Government reports economic data various statistics 00 Federal Government statistics h pilVWmNfedStatS gov O O 0 Public opinion data 0 Gallup gallupcom 0 Public Agenda wwwpublicagendaorg 0 National Opinion Research Center University of Chicago 0 National Election Studies University of Michigan O O O Validity and reliability of statistics 0 Consider the source and the method of data collection or generation 0 Consider the relationship between what you want to measure economic growth consumer confidence homelessness and the data you are using OOO SameSex Marriages AGE 15725 36750 51135 DvErEv t EDUCATVON cameoseol High school Some orvless college College and mgher People came 1mm all stale except Maine lvllSSISSlppL Mest Vlrglma and Wyoming OOO Estimated lllllllllel ol active illicit drug risers ill 2002 age 12 and older Maliluana Most Abused Drugs Plesclilltlon drugs were the second most commonly abused type at drugs according to tile 2002 llatlonal Survey on Drug nd Health Methamphetamine lull inhalants News Talk Think 1829 years 2000 2004 Voter Involvement 30 plus years 2000 2004 36 49 48 51 29 39 30 31 26 43 50 54 O O 0 Using statistics in argument 0 Evaluate warrants data was gathered and reported correctly and accurately 0 Ask Whether the evidence statistical proof matches the claim 0 Make appropriate comparisons Argument in Public Opinion amp Electoral Politics PSC 202 April 4 2006777 Lecture Topics 0 Public opinion as part of a larger political argument 0 Attributes of public opinion 0 Good and bad public opinion 0 Connecting public opinion to public policy elections and political argument Political argument 0 Includes elements of argument claim support warrant 0 Uses all 5 types of claims may refer to or include legal arguments 0 Multiple and shifting participants 0 Mediated participation How can public opinion have an impact 0 Polls are readused by officialscandidates 0 Public participation is mandated by law 0 Lettersemailsphone calls 0 Lobbying 0 Elections Role of the Media Christopher Lasch o The job of the press is to encourage debate 0 When words are used merely as instruments of publicity or propaganda they lose their power to persuade Information about public opinion 0 Important for candidates and electedappointed officials 0 Measurement Pre 19SOs Post 1950s era of public opinion polls 0 Problems with polls Attributes of public opinion 0 Distribution 0 Intensity 0 Stability o Varying definition of the public CON Attributes of public opinion 0 Distribution 0 Intensity 0 Stability o Varying definition of the public Whatwho is the publicquot 0 The broader public state nation 0 A representative s district 0 Those in the district who vote 0 Those in the district who voted for HT 0 Those who contributed to his campaign Attributes of public opinion 0 Distribution 0 Intensity 0 Stability o Varying definition of the public Good public opinion 0 Yankelovich Coming to Public udgment the quality of public opinion is good when the public accepts responsibility for the consequences of its views Example Free Trade vs Abortion 0 Free trade opinions volatile inconsistent compartmentalized 0 Abortion opinions stable consistent resistant to wording ge Attributes of public opinion 0 Distribution 0 Intensity 0 Stability o Varying definition of the public Bad public opinion mass opinion 0 Mass opinion poor quality opinion as define by Volatility Inconsistency nonresponsibility Good public opinion or public judgment Special form of public opinion Thoughtful Weighs alternatives Takes into account a variety of factors Is stable over time Elections as connections between public opinion and public policy What needs to be the case for elections to work as a means for the public to have an impact on policy 0 Voting rules must be fair 0 Citizens must have adequate information 0 Candidates must make their positions clear Blurring positions 1968 Votes of Pull out Stay end those who entirely fighting said Nixon 51 47 HHH 49 53 Blurring positions 1968 Perceonn ofcandidates etnan1 pOQUons RMN HHH 439 405 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Withdraw victory Making positions known 1972 withdraw work to Use all end force ghUng Nixon 22 71 84 McGovern 78 29 16 Candidates and political argument Public Opinion amp Political Leaders Leaders need to articulate choices They must clarify the consequences of choices In other words they must present sound arguments to the public Definition of leadership should include helping produce public judgment FALLACIES or PSEUDOPROOFS 2 FALLACIES IN LOGICLOGOS Hasty Generalizations jumping to conclusions Post Hoc problem with causation or false cause Appeal to Ignorance an argument for or against a proposition on the basis of a lack of evidence against or for it Begging the Question plagues logosethospathos refusal to make an argument no support is provided by the arguer claim is simply restated over and over in one form or another False dichotom dichotomy two alternatives that don t overlap and are mutually exclusive Mismatch of claim and support Red Herring o provides irrelevant and misleading support that pulls audience away from the real argument NonSequitur does not follow conclusion doesn t follow from the evidence Straw Man attributing an argument to an opponent that heshe never made and then refuting it 2 FALLACIES AFFECTING CHARACTERETHOS Ad hominem attacking the man attacks a person s character rather than hisher ideas Guilt by association suggests that people s character can be judged by character of their associates 2 FALLACIES AFFECTING EMOTIONPATHOS Bandwagon appeal if everyone is doing something you should do it to Slippery Slope if we allow one thing to happen we will slide down the slippery slope to disaster Argument Ad Populum Ineffective or wrong appeal to some audience characteristic eg presumed bias N E 4 V39 0 gt1 PSC 202 March 20 2007 7 Characteristics of Legal Arguments Doctrine 7 Testsformulas used to approach issues e g strict scrutiny test applied to laws that make distinctions on the basis of race Reliance on Precedent 7 material that judges use to make decisions comes from previous decisions reasoning by analogy Canons of Construction 7 rules of interpretation that judges and lawyers use to approach a text for example the Constitution should be interpreted based on the intent of the framers vs the Constitution was designed to be exible and should be interpreted in light of the present situation or statutes should be assumed to be constitutional and those arguing that it s not constitutional thus have the burden of proof Inconsistency or incoherence 7 those making legal arguments bring forward all sorts of proofs or supports to advance the main claim even if they are not mutually consistent This could be seen as a weakness in a political argument but not in a legal argument Dialogue with Decision Makers 7 Judges recognize that they are only one link in a decisionmaking chain for example the Court may explicitly ask for guidance from another court or decisionmaker Another example 7 Higher court may refuse to hear a case and let the decision of a lower court stand Judges know that their decision regarding a particular state law may have an impact on other states Judicial Authority 7 Courts Judges consider the following question Is this something that the court canshould decide at all The question is technical andor philosophical ie Does a proposed lawsuit have legal standing Judicial Role 7 What is the judge s job What is the point of law or of engaging in legal argument To follow the law as written To x speci c problems To apply morality or work toward the good society Argument resting on judicial role often takes the form of a deductive argument reasoning from principle STATISTICS Statistical reasoning rests on commonsense devices but is formal precise and aware of its limits Typification representational or typifying form or model something that serves as a typical example of or embodies the essential characteristics of something else sunflower paintings typify Van Gog h s work We can assess typicality MODE what there is the most of gt MEDIAN what is in the middle gt MEAN the value that any individual in a set would be given if the sum total of values were to be distributed equally among all members of the set Three ways statistics are used in politics 1 Agendasetting ie income inequalityhomelessness 2 Describing public interest ie Ebbing support for the war in Iraq 3 Policy impacts ie Clinton welfare reforms or Bush proposal for the privatization of social security STATISTICAL ID EAS 1 Careful counting de emotionalizes the way things are described eliminates exaggeration and hyperbole that we use in ordinary speech I never do anything right We can do this with hard numbersstatistics or with soft quasi numerical identifiers many much some numerous a little a lot a few plenty commonly rarely etc E Central tendency or average refers to the measures mean mode median that are used to describe that which is more common or central to a distribution of values Also average commonplace consistent conventional frequent general invariably normal popular prevailing regular standard stereotypical unexceptional uniform usual etc 5quot Atypical statistical analysis is concentrated on both the similarities and differences between things Any form of comparison implies differences and is concerned with the presence of atypical events Also alien contrast deviant discrepancy distinct dissimilar disparity heterogeneity incomparable mismatched peculiar unequal unusual variant etc P Probability use of the idea of average what you might expect on the average in some situation Also accident chance fortune liable likelihood odds possibility tendency risk trend 5quot Sampling statisticians rely on sampling and inferences drawn from samples A representative sample is a portion piece or segment that is representative of a whole In statistics sampling refers to the set of elements drawn from and analyzed to estimate the characteristics of a population Also case embodiment experiments illustration instance observation polls sample specimen studies a Inductive statistics takes a sample and tries to generalize from that sample b Descriptive statistics making conclusions based on data from the entire population 6 Relationships looking for patterns in the world for example a positive relationship is where you find X you find Y where you do not find X you do not find Y A negative relationship is where you find X you do not find Y Also affiliation affinity association causal relation dependence interrelationship link pattern reciprocity relation etc Note correlation does not prove causality 7 Control and Standardization techniques for achieving rigorous control a standard of comparison for checking or verifying the results of an experiment Control has to do with determining whether X is really related to Y It might be that X and Y appear to be related but this is because they are both related to a third factor Z 8 Models a pattern of thinking usually complex that leads us to expect something It is a kind of fantasy or toy image of how things work One kind of commonsense model consists of stereotypes it leads us to expect certain actions that we can test against reality if we want to Also archetype dummy image paradigm pattern prefiguration stereotype 9 Categorization distributing things into classes or categories of the same type Good typification is essential to having good categories Where to find data wwwcensusgov wwwfedstatsgov htt wwwic srumichedu SETUPS frame02html wwwgallupcom wwwpublicagendaorg httpwww nnrr nrn quot htm Common Types of biases in surveys Undercoverage population that is actually sampled is not as broad as the population that the researcher desires to sample the target population Nonresponse missing data people who hang up or refuse People who work long hours Unfortunately people who are difficult to contact tend to give answers different from other people39s Non response is a big problem in mail surveys Example Laramie Wyoming sent out 2000 surveys to Laramie households to pout the citizen39s Attitude survey Only 481 surveys were returned What was the response rate Don39t know haven39t decided surveyors may interpret these responses to flatter the response they want Untruthful answers people give untruthful answers for several reasons 0 sensitive questions 0 socially acceptable answers 0 telling the interviewer what he or she wants to hear The fix secret ballots anonymous surveys quotsensitive questionquot techniques Ignorant people who don39t want to appear like they know nothing about the subject Example In a study educators were asked how they would rank Princeton39s undergraduate business program In every case it was rated among the top 10 departments in the country even though Princeton doesn39t offer an undergraduate business major People who don39t remember the actual answer Example Students were asked to report their grade point averages Researchers then determined the actual GPA39s Over 17 of the students reported a GPA that was 4 or more above their actual average and about 2 reported a GPA more than 4 below their actual GPA more inflated their GPA39s Timing in January the National Football League reported a poll that revealed football as the nation39s favorite this is at the time of the Super Bowl Statement of questions Subtle differences in phrasing make large differences in the results 10 said they would support cutting programs involving quotaid to the needyquot 39 said they would support cutting programs to quotpublic welfare programsquot Try saying no to this question quotDo you favor paying hard working teachers a little more so that our fine young people can have a decent educationquot To fix Large survey organizations require that their interviewers follow very explicit procedures and state questions exactly as written


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