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GOVT - Ch 8

Public Opinion and Voting

TermDefinition
public opinion The views of the citizenry about politics, public issues, and public policies; a complex collection of opinions held by many people on issues in the public arena.
political socialization The learning process through which most people acquire their political attitudes, opinions, beliefs, and knowledge.
agents of political socialization People and institutions that influence the political views of others.
media Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, the Internet, and any other printed or electronic means of communication.
peer group Associates, often close in age to one another (friends, classmates, co-workers, etc); influence is a significant factor in political socialization.
public opinion poll A numerical survey of the public's opinion on a particular topic at a particular moment.
sample In the context of opinion polling, a group of people selected to represent the population being studied.
straw poll A nonscientific poll where there is no way to ensure that the opinion expressed are representative of the larger population.
biased sample A poll sample that does not accurately represent the population.
random sample In the context of opinion polling, a sample in which each person within the entire population being polled has an equal chance of being chosen.
sampling error In the context of opinion polling, the difference between what the sample results show and what the true results would have been had everybody in the relevant population been interviewed.
push poll A campaign tactic used to feed false or misleading information to potential voters, under the guise of taking an opinion poll, with the intent to "push" voters away from one candidate and toward another.
literacy test A test given to voters to ensure that they could read and write and thus evaluate political information; a technique used in many southern states to restrict African American participation in elections.
poll tax A fee of several dollars that had to be paid before a person could vote; a device used in some southern states to prevent African Americans from voting.
grandfather clause A clause in a state law that had the effect of restricting the franchise to those whose ancestors had voted before the 1860s; one of the techniques used in the South to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote.
white primary A primary election in which African Americans were prohibited from voting (banned by Supreme Court in 1944).
voting-age population The number of people residing in the United States who are at least eighteen years old.
vote-eligible population The number of people who are actually eligible to vote in an American election.
gender gap The difference between the percentage of votes cast for a particular candidate by women and that by men.
Solid South A term used to describe the tendency of the southern states to vote Democratic after the Civil War.
vital center The center of the political spectrum (moderate political views); vital because within it, it may be difficult to reach the compromises necessary to a political system's continuity.
Created by: lisagrand
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