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Chapter 4 Political Culture, Political Attitudes, and Participation: Venting and Voting


Why Florida Democrats voted for Pat Buchanan ... Gender Since 1980, women have a higher tendency to vote for Democrats than Republicans. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 4 Political Culture, Political Attitudes, and Participation: Venting and Voting

Chapter 4Political Culture, Political Attitudes,
and ParticipationVenting and Voting
  • Why libertarians live in New Hampshire, liberals
    live in Minnesota, and conservatives live in

Political culture
  • Represents a shared set of norms and values.
  • Determined by a states history and maintained
    through existing political institutions.
  • Expressed through public attitudes.

The great and powerful Elazar
  • Daniel Elazar provided the first classification
    of states according to distinct political
  • Elazar concluded that states could be separated
    according to religious and ethnic backgrounds and
    migration patterns.

Minnesota liberals and Texas conservatives
  • The political culture of a state provides a
    foundation for the values and beliefs of its
    citizens about the appropriate role of
  • States political culture best expressed by
    citizen attitudes toward government and public

Elazars classification
  • Moralistic Minnesota liberals
  • Individualistic Every man for himself
  • Traditionalistic Texas conservatives

Debating Elazar
  • Political culture is rarely clear-cut attitudes
    change over time.
  • Most states have characteristics that reflect
    more than one political culture.
  • Political culture reflects sectionalism, or
    regional patterns, rather than distinct cultural

Political culture and elections
  • Political participation is a reflection of a
    states dominant political culture.
  • Elections are the primary mechanism for
    expressing attitudes and beliefs about the
    direction of government.

Chads and the Florida fiasco
  • States differ in the degree to which they impose
    regulations on the electoral process.
  • A state will regulate its elections to reinforce
    its existing political culture, resulting in
    fifty different election codes.
  • The most fundamental way to control elections is
    through ballot regulation.

Why Florida Democrats voted for Pat Buchanan
  • The type of ballot used influences voter behavior
    by determining the arrangement of candidates and
    political offices on a particular ballot.
  • Candidates can be listed according to party
    affiliation (party column) or the office being
    pursued (office group).

Its good to be king
  • A state can reinforce its political culture by
    regulating which parties nominees appear on the
  • Party in power is usually the result of favorable
    electoral conditions as maintained through
    existing state regulations.
  • Minor or third parties face institutional
    barriers to ballot success.

A changing electorate
  • In the past, states were able to control not only
    which parties appeared on the ballot, but also
    who saw the ballot.
  • Voter registration restrictions have declined,
    but voter registration remains a powerful
    political tool.

Political culture and political behavior
  • Political participation depends on existing
    electoral conditions.
  • Moralistic states, with a high degree of
    political competition, have the highest rates of
    political participation.
  • Competitive elections also drive up rates of
    voter turnout.

The governor vs. the state treasurer
  • States differ in degree to which political power
    is conferred on public officials.
  • Plural executive systems lead many statewide
    officeholders to run campaigns independent of the
  • The degree to which statewide officials wield
    political power usually reflects the political
    culture of a state.

Public opinion and political culture
  • State legislators have relatively little
    information regarding citizen opinion, therefore,
    they must respond to cues regarding citizen
  • Moralistic states provide more opportunities for
    citizen input than traditionalistic or
    individualistic states.
  • Legislators are more responsive to the needs of
    citizens in states possessing a politically
    active citizenry.

The Functions of Elections
  • Most change in the United States comes about on
    the basis of elections.
  • Elections generally allow us to avoid
  • Riots
  • General strikes
  • Coups d'etats
  • Elections serve
  • to legitimate governments
  • to fill public offices and organize governments
  • to allow people with different views and policy
    agendas to come to power
  • to ensure that the government remains accountable
    to the people.

Citizen legislators and the California recall
  • Twenty-four states provide for direct democracy
    through ballot initiatives and referendums.
  • The initiative process increases the range of
    topics considered during the legislative process.
  • Initiatives and recalls provide a powerful
    expression of political attitudes and reinforce
    the existing political culture.

Different Kinds of Elections
  • Primary Elections
  • General Elections
  • Initiative, Referendum, and Recall
  • Initiatives allow citizens to propose legislation
    and submit it to popular vote.
  • A referendum allows the legislature to submit
    proposed legislation for popular approval.
  • Recall elections allow citizens to remove someone
    from office.

Voter Turnout
  • Australia 96
  • South Africa 86
  • Denmark 83
  • Germany 78
  • Britain 78
  • Israel 77
  • Canada 69
  • Japan 67
  • Russia 54
  • Mexico 52
  • India 50
  • U.S. 48

Voting Behavior
  • Voter Participation
  • About 50 of the eligible adult population votes
  • About 25 are occasional voters.
  • About 35 rarely or never vote.

Does Low Voter Turnout Matter?
  • Is low voter turnout a problem in a democracy?
  • Do we want the uninformed or poor and uneducated

Who Votes? (social and demographic
  • Income people with higher incomes have a higher
    tendency to vote.
  • Age older people tend to vote more often than
    younger people (less than half of eligible 18-24
    year olds are registered to vote).
  • Gender Since 1980, women have a higher tendency
    to vote for Democrats than Republicans.
  • Race in general, whites tend to vote more
    regularly than African-Americans (this may be due
    to income and education not race).

Who votes cont.
  • Education (high)
  • Parental participation
  • Occupation (high status)
  • Religion
  • Exposure to media
  • Geographic region

Who Votes? (psychological factors)
  • Party Identification
  • Perception of the
  • Candidates
  • Issue preferences
  • Political culture

Pro/Con ? ? ? ?
  • Direct Democracy
  • Representative
  • Democracy

  • The process in which individuals acquire the
    information, beliefs, attitudes and values that
    help them comprehend the workings of a political
    system and orient themselves within it.

Political Socialization and Other Factors That
Influence Opinion Formation
  • Political attitudes are grounded in values. We
    learn our values by a process known as political
  • Many factors influence opinion formation.
  • The Family
  • The Mass Media
  • School and Peers
  • The Impact of Events
  • Social/economic groups
  • Religion, Race,
  • Education, Income,
  • Gender, Region

How We Form Political Opinions
Political Opinions
Personal Beliefs
Political Knowledge
Cues From Leaders
The Structure of a Campaign
  • All political campaigns can be viewed as a series
    of several campaigns that run simultaneously.

The Nomination Campaign
The General Election Campaign
The Personal Campaign
The Organizational Campaign
The Media Campaign
Campaign Challenges
Campaign Financing
The News Media
Televised Debates
Individual Contributions
Handling the Press?
PAC Contributions
Personal Contributions
Party Contributions
  • Incumbency advantage the electoral edge
    afforded to those already in officegained via
  • Edge in visibility
  • Experience
  • Organization
  • Fund raising ability

Contributions and Expenses
  • Campaigns are VERY expensive.
  • House races can cost over 1 million but usually
    cost 400-700,000 for incumbents, less for
  • Senate races cost much more.
  • All political money is regulated by the federal
    government under the Federal Elections Campaign
    Act of 1971, 1974, and 1976.

Soft Money
  • Soft money is money with no limits or rules that
    is raised and spent outside of federal election
  • Soft money is often used to pay for ads that do
    not expressly advocate the election or defeat of
    a particular candidate.
  • As long as these ads do not use the words "vote
    for", "elect", "vote against" or the like, ads
    can be paid for with unregulated soft money.
  • Many argue that the huge infusion of unregulated
    soft money has destroyed the federal campaign

  • FECA limits individuals to contributions of
    2,000 per election, per candidate (2,000 in the
    primary and another 2,000 in the general
  • Individuals may give a maximum of 37,500 in
    gifts to all candidates combined in any two-year
    election cycle.

  • PACs may donate 5,000 per candidate, per
  • There are over 4,000 PACs registered with the
  • PACs gave over 200 million to congressional
    candidates in 1996 (individuals gave 444

Personal Contributions
  • In Buckley v. Valeo (1976) the Supreme Court
    struck down limits on personal campaign spending.
  • Spending your own money on your campaign is a
    free speech right.
  • Steve Forbes, Ross Perot, and other wealthy
    Americans have taken advantage of their personal
    wealth in their quest for office.

Do we vote for the Candidate or the Campaign?
  • The most important factor in any campaign is the
    candidate (he/she is even more important than
  • Campaigns are able (most of the time) to downplay
    a candidates weaknesses and emphasize her
  • However, even the best campaigns cannot put an
    ineffective candidate in the win column most of
    the time.
  • Most people vote for a candidate not the campaign.

Voter Profiles
  • voting introvert/extrovert
  • pocketbook voter
  • groupie voter
  • glamour voter
  • terror voter

  • Name Calling
  • Testimonial
  • Glittering Generalities
  • Loaded Words
  • Card Stacking
  • Bandwagon
  • Plain Folks
  • Transfer
  • Fear

  • Although rarely clear-cut, the political cultures
    of the states help explain why states differ in
    terms of interparty competition and political
  • The political culture of a state influences
    everything from political attitudes and political
    participation to the regulation of statewide
  • Elections provide a valuable mechanism for
    expressing political attitudes and preserve the
    states existing political culture.

Governing the Sooner State
Oklahoma Voter Registration
  • Year Dem. Rep. Ind.
  • 1960 82 17 1
  • 1970 77 22 1
  • 1980 75 23 2
  • 1990 65 32 3
  • 2000 57 35 9
  • 2024 38 41 21

Oklahoma How we Participate
  • 1907-1918
  • 1918-1930
  • 1930-1942
  • 1941-1962
  • 1962-1979
  • 1980-2005

Trends - Oklahoma
  • Democrats
  • Role of Tradition
  • Populist appeals
  • Nature of Democrats in Oklahoma
  • Other?
  • Republicans
  • Role of Religion
  • Demographic
  • Issues
  • Economy
  • Party Control
  • Other?