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Political Science- Week One Notes, starting after Spring Break

by: Michaela Musselman

Political Science- Week One Notes, starting after Spring Break Pol 101

Marketplace > University of Mississippi > Liberal Arts > Pol 101 > Political Science Week One Notes starting after Spring Break
Michaela Musselman
GPA 3.35

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About this Document

These notes are from the first week after spring break, starting on March 22nd. Complete with Check Your Knowledge questions, and answers at the bottom.
Introduction to American National Government
Heather Ondercin
Class Notes
poli sci, poli sci 101, American National Government
25 ?




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Michaela Musselman on Friday March 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Pol 101 at University of Mississippi taught by Heather Ondercin in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see Introduction to American National Government in Liberal Arts at University of Mississippi.


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Date Created: 03/25/16
Check Your Knowledge  Who is the most important agent of political socialization?  Is it problematic that individuals are misinformed or hold factual incorrect information? Polarization  Political Polarization: Divergence of attitudes towards the political ideological extremes. I.e. Political ideas and attitudes that range to opposite ends of the spectrums; Left wing liberals and right wing conservatives  Why do we think we are polarized? o The way the media talks about red states and blue states  If we look at vote choice by state, yes we look polarized o However, looking at vote choice by county and then by population, it is easy to see we are not polarized. Political Polarization  Are we polarized when it comes to ideological identification? o 34% identify as moderate o 62% as moderate, slightly liberal, or slightly conservative o 8% identify as extremely liberal or extremely conservative Political Participation and Voting  What determines if someone is going to vote?  The calculus of voting is an equation: Turnout=P*B-C o P= People o B= Benefit o C= Cost o If someone thinks the benefits will outweigh the costs, they will be more likely to vote. However, when the math is done, the benefits almost never outweigh the cost.  Paradox of Voting o The benefits of voting do not mathematically outweigh the costs. So why do we do it?  Most people feel a strong sense of civic duty. This a factor that changes the equation, as it makes the incentive to vote even stronger. o The new equation is Turnout=P*B-C+D  When are voters more likely to turn out? o When they think their vote will matter o When the costs of information are low o But it is mostly about their level of civic duty Check Your Knowledge Answers  Parents are the most important agents of socialization  Yes it is. Check Your Knowledge  True or False: There is significant evidence that mass attitudes are polarized.  True or False: The calculus of voting tells us that voters should always vote because of the benefits they receive when their preferred candidate or party wins. Variation across Groups in Turnout  Women tend to turn out to vote in higher numbers than men since 1980.  The higher the education level, the more likely you are to vote. The lower the education level, the less likely you are to vote. o Those with graduate school degrees vote in much higher numbers than those with just a college degree.  The older you are, the more likely you are to vote o The older you are, the more free time, money, and opportunity you have, therefore, the costs of voting are not as high as for someone who just started college. o They also have more experience voting, as opposed to someone who just turned 18.  How does the calculus of voting (turnout=P*B-C+D) help us to explain the variation we observed? Changes in Electoral Law  Change in Electoral law influence the cost of voting and civic duty o Progressive Era: 1980s-1920s  Where we voted changed: We went from voting in saloons with members of a party candidate to voting in places that could hold no impact on how someone voted. I.e. fire houses, schools, etc.  We adopted the Australian Ballot- this forced people to vote for one specific candidate instead of for any candidate in his or her party  It weakened political parties, as political parties could no longer buy votes as they could before these changes were made o Motor Voter (National Voter Registration Act of 1993)  Every state had to have an option to register to vote when getting their license. Other Mechanisms to Increase Voter Turnout  Social Movements o Civil Rights Movement o Women’s Movement  Political Campaigns and Parties Expansion and Enfranchisement  Voting rights are determined by states. o Most laws were very restrictive in nature. Only white land-owning men (50 acres) or white men with taxable income could vote.  There are variations in requirements across state today but none of the requirements involve sex, race, or material possessions  Enfranchisement of African Americans o 15 Amendment o Jim Crow Laws abolished o Voting Rights Act of 1965  Women o 19 Amendment (1920)  Young Aduths o 26 Amendment (1971)  18-year-olds being drafted into the war were arguing that if they were expected to serve combat and were old enough to do so, they were old enough to vote in elections Determinates of the Vote  Partisanship o Someone’s party identification will usually push an individual towards one candidate or another o Heuristic: An informal shortcut  Issues o The number one issue in every election is the economy  Retrospective voting is used in many elections- How am I doing now as opposed to 4 years ago?  Prospective voting is also used- Looking down the road and thinking ahead about a candidate’s proposals. o The second biggest issue in every election is abortion o Others will vary based on elections  Candidates o Characteristics o Personality o Many people vote for a candidate because “they’d like to have a beer with them.”  Campaigns o Less about swaying votes but more about reinforcing and activation of political partisanship Campaigns and Elections  Purpose of an election: o Hold Representatives accountable o Allows representatives to communicate with their constituents o Facilitate Participation Basics of a US Election  How often do we hold elections? o State Office: will vary o US House of Representatives: 2 years o US Senate: Every 6 years, 1/3 of the senate is up for election every 2 years o President: 4 years, 2 terms  Primary Elections: An election used to select the candidates that run on the general election  Hold Primaries for: US House, US Senate, some states hold primaries for president o Some states hold caucuses: a public meeting of party members in a public place that discuss and select a candidate o Types of Primaries  Open Primary: Anyone can vote, regardless of party identification  Closed Primary: Only individuals who are registered with a political party  Blanket Primary: Anyone can vote, but no division by party  Second Primary: When states of a majority decide the winner, the top two candidates run again in a primary Check Your Knowledge Answers  False  False


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