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Public Opinion and Political Action

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Used by government to socialize young into political culture ... Aging increases political participation and strength of party attachment. 13 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Public Opinion and Political Action


1
Public Opinion and Political Action
  • Chapter 6

2
Introduction
  • Public Opinion
  • The distribution of the populations beliefs
    about politics and policy issues
  • Demography
  • The science of population changes
  • Census
  • A valuable tool for understanding population
    changes
  • Required every 10 years by the Constitution

3
The American People
  • The Immigrant Society
  • United States is a nation of immigrants.
  • Three waves of immigration
  • Northwestern Europeans (prior to late 19th
    Century)
  • Southern and eastern Europeans (late 19th and
    early 20th centuries)
  • Hispanics and Asians (late 20th century)

4
The American People
  • The American Melting Pot
  • Melting Pot the mixing of cultures, ideas, and
    peoples that has changed the American nation
  • Minority Majority the emergence of a
    non-Caucasian majority
  • Political culture is an overall set of values
    widely shared within a society.

5
The American People
6
The American People
  • The American Melting Pot (continued)
  • African Americans face a legacy of racism.
  • Hispanics are the largest minority group faced
    with the problem of illegal immigration.
  • Simpson-Mazzoli Act requires employers document
    citizenship of employee
  • Asian immigration has been driven by a new class
    of professional workers.
  • Native Americans indigenous and disadvantaged

7
The American People
  • The Regional Shift
  • Population shift from east to west
  • Reapportionment the process of reallocating
    seats in the House of Representatives every 10
    years on the basis of the results of the census

8
The American People
  • The Graying of America
  • Fastest growing age group is over 65
  • Potential drain on Social Security
  • Pay as you go system
  • In 1942, 42 workers per retiree
  • In 2040, 2 workers per retiree

9
How Americans Learn About Politics Political
Socialization
  • Political Socialization
  • the process through which and individual
    acquires their particular political
    orientation
  • Orientation grows firmer with age
  • The Process of Political Socialization
  • The Family Political leanings of children often
    mirror their parents leanings

10
How Americans Learn About Politics Political
Socialization
11
How Americans Learn About Politics Political
Socialization
  • The Process of Political Socialization
    (continued)
  • The Mass Media
  • Chief source of information as children age
  • Generation gap is viewing television news
  • School
  • Used by government to socialize young into
    political culture
  • Better-educated citizens are more likely to vote
    and are more knowledgeable about politics and
    policy.

12
How American Learn About Politics Political
Socialization
  • Political Learning Over a Lifetime
  • Aging increases political participation and
    strength of party attachment.

13
Measuring Public Opinion and Political Information
  • How Polls Are Conducted
  • Sample a small proportion of people who are
    chosen in a survey to be representative of the
    whole
  • Random Sampling the key technique employed by
    sophisticated survey researchers which operates
    on the principle that everyone should have an
    equal probability of being selected for the
    sample
  • Sampling Error the level of confidence in the
    findings of a public opinion poll

14
Measuring Public Opinion and Political Information
  • The Role of Polls in American Democracy
  • Polls help politicians detect public preferences.
  • But critics say polls make politicians think more
    about following than leading public
  • Even though politicians do not track opinion to
    make policy
  • Question wording may affect survey results

15
Measuring Public Opinion and Political Information
  • The Role of Polls in American Democracy
  • Polls may distort election process
  • Exit Polls used by the media to predict election
    day winners
  • May discourage people from voting
  • 2000 presidential election in Florida

16
Measuring Public Opinion and Political Information
  • What Polls Reveal About Americans Political
    Information
  • Americans dont know much about politics.
  • Americans may know their basic beliefs but not
    how that affects policies of the government.
  • The Decline of Trust in Government
  • Since 1964, trust in government has declined.
  • Trust in government has gone up somewhat since
    September 11.

17
Measuring Public Opinion and Political Information
18
Measuring Public Opinion and Political Information
19
What Americans Value Political Ideologies
  • Political Ideology
  • A coherent set of beliefs about politics, public
    policy, and public purpose
  • Who Are the Liberals and Conservatives?
  • Predominance of conservative over liberal
    thinking
  • Currently about 38 conservative, 24 liberal,
    38 moderate
  • Gender gap women tend to be less conservative
    than men
  • Ideological variation by religion too

20
What Americans Value Political Ideologies
21
What Americans Value Political Ideologies
  • Do People Think in Ideological Terms?
  • Ideologues think in ideological terms
  • Group Benefits voters view politics through
    party or group label
  • Nature of the Times view of politics based on
    whether times are good or bad
  • No issue content vote routinely for party or
    personality

22
How Americans Participate in Politics
  • Political Participation all the activities used
    by citizens to influence the selection of
    political leaders or the policies they pursue
  • Conventional Participation
  • Voting in elections
  • Working in campaigns or running for office
  • Contacting elected officials

23
How Americans Participate in Politics
  • Protest as Participation
  • Protest a form of political participation
    designed to achieve policy changes through
    dramatic and unconventional tactics
  • Civil disobedience a form of political
    participation that reflects a conscious decision
    to break a law believed to be immoral and to
    suffer the consequences

24
How Americans Participate in Politics
  • Class, Inequality, and Participation

25
Understanding Public Opinion and Political Action
  • Public Attitudes Toward the Scope of Government
  • Many people have no opinion about scope of
    government.
  • Public opinion is inconsistent, which may lead to
    policy gridlock.
  • Democracy, Public Opinion, and Political Action
  • Americans select leaders, but do they do so
    wisely?
  • If people know little about candidates issues,
    how can they?
  • People vote more for performance than policy.

26
Summary
  • American society is ethnically diverse and
    changing.
  • Knowing public opinion is important to a
    democracy, just as polling has costs and
    benefits.
  • Americans know little about politics.
  • Political participation is generally low.
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