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US Govt

Public Opinion The aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs shared by same portion of the majority of the people. NOT EVERYONE
Political Socialization Process by which ppl acquire political beliefs and attitude (public opinion) Starts with Family: communication and receptivity Factors: Wealth, family, race, religion, education, gender, media, age
Gender Gap The difference between the percentage of women who vote for a particular candidate and the percentage of men who vote for the candidate Women: Care more about environment, social welfare and extending civil rights to gays and lesbians Men: Abroad issu
Reasons for Gender Gap Decline in Marriage Increase in number of working women Men richer than women
History of Opinion Polls Literary Digest: mailed questionnaires to subscribers Gallup poll Roper Poll
Generational Effect A long-lasting effect of the events of a particular time on the political opinions of those who came of political age at that time.
Sampling Techniques Representative Sampling Principles of Randomness
Problems with Polls Sampling Error: The difference between a sample's results and the true result if the entire population had been interviewed Push Polls: Questions are misleading Margin of Error: +/- 3 % makes a poll reliable
Phone Polling -Less expensive -Ppl refuse to respond
Internet Polling -Nonpolls -Harris Poll -Inaccurate polls -Not reliable
How do polls affect policy making? -Limit govt action through public pressure -Policy leaders not always guided by opinion polls b/c respondents don't understand costs and consequences
Interest groups An organized group of individuals sharing common objectives who actively attempt to influence policy makers
Lobbyist -Anyone who spends 20% or more in Congress -Anyone who attempts to influence legislation and decisions of govt -Representative
Social Movements -Precursors to interest groups -Represents demands of a large segment of the public for change
Interest Groups Created to: -Meet an immediate crisis -Based on social movement
Why Do Americans Join Interest Groups? Latent Interests: Unrecognized Solidary incentives: Reason/motive that deals with desire to associate with ppl that have same interests Material incentives: Get economic benefits (discounts, insurance) Purposive Incentives: Ppl agree with group goals
Free-rider problem Difficulty interest groups face in recruiting members when the benefits the achieve can be gained without joining the group
Why so many interest groups? -Right to join is protected by 1st Amendment -Govt allows ppl to form groups ANYWHERE
Types of Interest Groups: Most popular: Economic -Business, agricultural, labor unions -Environmental -Public Interest -Single-Interest Groups -Foreign Govts-deal with trade issues
What makes Interest groups so powerful? -Size and resources-more ppl=more money -Leadership -Cohesiveness-motivation=key factor -Most important factor: Who you know
Direct Techniques -Lobbyists do it theirselves -Testify by committee -Private meetings -Write the bills for the legislation -Provide political information -Campaign assistance -Build alliances with other groups
Indirect Techniques -Groups use general public or third party -Public pressure -Demonstrations
Climate control -Use of public relations techniques to create a favorable public opinion toward an interest group, industry or corporation
Political Party -A group of political activists who organize to win elections, operate govt. and determine public policy
Difference between Interest Groups and Political Parties Interest Groups: Do not try to influence govt -Don't put forth candidates
Formative years First political division: -Federalists -Anti-Federalists: Democratic Republicans
Era of Good Feelings Federalists dissolved -Democratic Republicans dominated -James Monroe president
Whig Party -National Republicans -Followers of Adams -Anti-Jackson -"Internal Improvements"
Democratic Party -Followers of Jackson
Civil War Split Whig Party split over slavery -North Whigs combined w/ antislavery democrats and formed REPUBLICAN PARTY (Free soilers)
Two Party System Only two parties have a reasonable chance of winning
Three faces of a Party Party-in-the-electorate: People who vote Party Organization:Formal leadership -National, state and local leaders Party-in-Government: All of the elected officials
National Convention Meeting held each 4 years and used to nominate president and vice president candidates
Party Platform Outlines policies, positions and principles of candidates
Realignment Dealignmenet Someone switches parties A decline in party loyalties that reduces long-term party commitment
Created by: lena.rowland