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Politics 106

QuestionAnswer
Public Opinion Polls Scientific effort to determine what an entire group thinks about an issue by asking a smaller sample of the group for its opinion; takes 1000 people to get an accurate representation
Reasons public opinion is important Normative & Empirical
Normative Public Opinion should influence what the government does in a democracy-->why? b/c we are a democracy
Empirical Many people behave as though public opinion matters, and thus the measures, records, and reactions to public are a factor in politics (It matters because we act like it matters; follows from normative; protests wouldn't matter if no one showed up)
Ideal Democratic Citizen The virtuous, citizen activated by concern for the common good; recognizes that democracy comes with obligations as well as rights
Apolitical, Self-Interested Actors Inattentive and ill-informed, politically intolerant and rigid, unlikely to get involved in political life
Horse-race Polls (how polls are used) Asking about voting intentions in an effort to add drama to the campaign. Everything becomes a reaction to the voter intentions (Asking voters, make a big deal out of the "change"; media wants attention and a reaction)
Political Socialization the process by which we learn our political orientations and allegiances
Agents of Political Socialization #1: Family; schools; churches; neighborhoods; workplaces; peer groups; major events
Gender Gap As women attained greater independence and education, the gap in participation has disappeared and the gap in ideology has grown (women tend to be more liberal, and vote more)
Marriage Gap Women who are married or widowed tend to be ideologically more conservative
Race and Ethnicity The differences are not consistent, but are drastic on certain issues; Hispanics=Catholic (Republican), but a minority (liberal)
Sample Bias Using a sample that over-represents a portion of the population, thus leading to errors in results and skewed information (cell phones...younger people-no land lines); 1000-2000 can be very representative of 300 mil if randomly drawn and representative
Pseudo-Polls Data, but it's B.S.
Self-Selection Poll How can this be representative? Crowd sourcing; tell people to vote online, have everyone vote
Push-Polls Present false/negative information, often in hypothetical form, and ask respondents to react to it...therefore manipulate public opinion; everyone has to fill it out ("Knowing that Obama kills puppies, would you still vote for him?"-mostly no)
Challenges of polls Internet can be good and bad (people are more responsive, but samples can be biased and self-selected); cell phones are more difficult to contact
Accuracy of polls Generally very accurate; right in every presidential since 1980 (EXCEPT 2000-Bush v. Gore)
On-Line Processing We are very capable of receiving and evaluating info as it comes, but we often forget the reasons for our opinions and evaluations-fights with our friends we don't remember; "love Obama"...idk why
Two-Step Flow of Information We trust the OPINION LEADERS and influentials to filter information and be experts for us
Age & Voting Likelihood increases with age-18-29 group only exceeded 50% in 3 elections
Gender & Voting Women more likely than men
Income & Voting Wealthy more likely
Education & Voting Education is historically one of the strongest predictors; college educated voted at 92% in 2004...slightly lower in 2008
Race and Ethnicity & Voting Minorities less likely to vote, but that seems to be changing. More minorities (esp. Latinos) are voting. Politicians gear toward getting minorities, otherwise won't win.
Legal Obstacles & Why We don't Vote Registration laws in the U.S. decrease voter turnout; voter fatigue-getting tired of paying attention; voting on Tuesdays limits turnout->old reasons for Tues->farming? religion?; limited access to vote by mail; intentional/unexpected effects of laws-Tues
Choosing a Candidate-Partisanship & Social Group Membership Party affiliation is largest factor; we like candidates who "look" like us; Mitt Romney and "The Mormon Question"->won't vote for a Mormon
Choosing a Candidate-Gender Gender has mixed effects, but women have key issues and a history of voting for women (abortion/Bill Brady-lost women voters)
Choosing a Candidate-Race African Americans have voted Democratic in overwhelming majority since the 1960s
Choosing a Candidate-Ethnicity Less clear, though there are some tendencies.and a battle for voters
Prospective Voting Voters base their decisions on policies and positions they believe will be enacted and supported by their candidate IN THE FUTURE->make a promise, we believe it
Retrospective Voting Voters base their decisions on the state of current events and hold those in power accountable (Clinton and the economy, Reagan and "are you better" off today?)
The Invisible Primary Talk to fellow politicians, gather early support, collect campaign cash, leak the rumor to media, visit Iowa, form exploratory committee, make the announcement
Party Caucus Party members meet and discuss/debate, then vote for a nominee; public is involved, but only by party members
Open Primary Any voter can vote in any primary regardless of party affiliation; either Democrat/Republican; IL has this
Closed Primary Only voters registered with the associated party affiliation may vote in that party's primary (only Republican ballot)
The Convention Public event, speakers, announce VP-criteria=where they're from, experience, ideology, balance the ticket; not second-most votes
Electoral College 270 to win (538 total: 435 House, 100 Senate, 3 from D.C.); 51% of votes for a party (Dem. in IL), then president gets all votes in electoral college
Resources of Campaigns Time, people, money (time most important)
Valence Issues Issues on which we all agree (strong economy, fighting terrorism, etc.)
Position Issues Issues with 2 sides where candidates attempt to drive a wedge in voters (abortion, spending, military use, etc.)
Wedge Issues Issues which drive a wedge within a party (Republican being pro-choice, Huntsman on global warming)
Created by: 775528956