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Political Influences


Political Influences Political Culture Public Opinion Voting and Elections Political Culture Relationships within a culture Consensual some conflict between ideas ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political Influences

Political Influences
  • Political Culture
  • Public Opinion
  • Voting and Elections

Political Culture
  • Relationships within a culture
  • Consensual some conflict between ideas
  • Conflictual opposing belief systems clash with
    each other

Core Values
  • Liberty (Thomas Jefferson and Locke)
  • Equality (social, political and opportunity)
  • Individualism (rugged, common sense, choice and
  • Democracy (majority rules with minority rights)
  • Rule of Law (vs. rule of the individual)
  • Civic Duty

Changing values
  • Capitalism FDR and the 2nd bill of rights
  • Free Enterprise
  • Political Tolerance
  • Mistrust (increased since the 1960s, internal
    efficacy - take part external efficacy govt
    will respond to needs)
  • The isms liberal, conservative, communist,
    socialism, libertarian, etc.

What is Public Opinion?
  • The distribution of individual attitudes about a
    particular issue, candidate, political
    institution, etc.
  • Many Publics not just one
  • George Gallup
  • Gallup Polls started in 1932
  • 1st pollster
  • Agency has only picked one general election
    result incorrectly since the year 1936

Public Opinion
  • Measurement of
  • Straw Vote Polls (quantity is more important than
    the quality)
  • Call in votes (American Idol, Americas Got
  • Scientific (quality is more important than
  • This is what we generally see done today
  • Gallup Poll, Harris Poll, CBS News/USA Today polls

Steps to a Good Public Opinion Poll
  • Define the universe (everyone that is to be asked
    the questions)
  • Create a sample (random, quota,census tract, etc
    only 1500 needed for US)
  • Questions created (yes/no the best)
  • How to ask the questions? (face to face, phone,
  • Tabulate the results (sampling error /- 3 points
    the maximum for a good result)

Characteristics of a poll
  • Intensity how strong are the feelings for the
  • Latency is it a visible or hidden question?
  • Salience what relevance does it have to me?
  • Consensus v. Polarization
  • Fluidity- how likely is the opinion to change
    within the time frame

Polling Bias Types
  • Testimonials Implied endorsements from
  • Mudslinging Name calling or groundless
    assertions about another candidate (negative
    advertising tends to have more watchers)

Polling Bias Continued
  • Transfer Use of popular symbols or causes to
    create a positive connotation for a candidate or
    the use of negative or controversial symbol and
    cause to create a negative connotation of the
    competitions candidate

American Supporter
Unamerican hearings
Bias in Polling
  • Cardstacking Use of statistics in a one sided
    manner the omission of information that is
    crucial to drawing an informed conclusion
  • Glittering Generalities use of very vague words
    or phrases that may have a positive effect on the
    viewer and appeal to a variety of interests.

Your Public Opinion how formed?
  • Political socialization the process by which
    attitudes are shaped and passed from generation
    to generation
  • Cradle to Grave
  • Never Ending
  • Factors that influence a persons opinion
  • People in different social groups tend to share
    certain opinions group identification

Family as an agent
  • Number One influence of political attitude
  • Very strong correlation for Political Party
  • More often associated with economic issues (the
    pocketbook issues)

Gender as an agent
  • Examples
  • More men support the military
  • More women consider sexual harassment a serious
  • Women tend to vote Democratic more often whereas
    men tend to vote Republican more often
  • Abortion issues, death penalty issues
  • Gender Gap issue

Religion as an agent
  • Example
  • Protestants are more conservative on economic
    matters than Catholics or Jews
  • Jews tend to be more liberal on economic and
    social issues than Catholics or Protestants
  • Catholics tend to be more liberal on economic
    issues than they are on social issues (Catholics
    are becoming more conservative)m

Education as an agent
  • Example
  • Higher education more conservative, but while
    attending college you tend to be more liberal
  • Conflicting results not the best correlation
  • Regular School we try to teach the values of
    education and the nation (think about history
    classes and civics)

Social Class as an agent
  • Blue Collar (laborer) typically votes
  • White Collar (management) typically votes
  • Relationship is becoming less clear
  • Hourly wage earners v. salaried
  • Low income v. Higher income play a part in the

Race and Ethnic Background
  • Examples
  • 90 of African Americans vote Democratic
  • Hispanic Americans tend to affiliate with the
    Democrats, but less than African Americans
  • Asian Americans less liberal than Hispanic
    Americans or African Americans but still vote
    consistently Democratic
  • White, more divided, tends to flucuate by the
    election (economy)

Geographic region
  • Examples
  • East and West Coast tend to be more liberal
  • Mid West more conservative
  • Urban more liberal
  • South 1870 through 1950s Democrat Solid
    South but today primarily social conservatives
  • White Southerner less liberal

Public Opinion
  • Political Ideology
  • Coherent and consistent set of political beliefs
    about who ought to rule, the principles that the
    rulers need to obey and what policies rulers
    ought to pursue.
  • Changes over time
  • Liberal and Conservative have different meanings
    depending on historical time

Factors That Determine Placement
  • Two major factors shape political views.
  • The first is how much change a person is willing
    to have within their society and government.
  • The second deals with how much government
    involvement in the economy a person calls for.
  • Others also bring in the question of how much
    freedom from government authority a leader is
    willing to give the people.

Political Labels
  • To see where you stand, you would have to figure
    out where you stand on a number of social
    (people-related), economic (money-related), and
    political (governmental) issues.
  • First you need definitions of the terms radical,
    liberal, conservative, and reactionary. Some
    authors include the terms authoritarian and

What is a Radical?
  • Seen as being on the far left of the political
    spectrum, radicals call for wide-sweeping rapid
    change in the basic structure of the political,
    social, or economic system.
  • They may be willing to resort to extreme methods
    to bring about change, including the use of
    violence and revolution.

V.I. Lenin Mastermind of the Russian Revolution
and Father of the Soviet Union
What is a Liberal?
  • Liberals believe that the government should be
    actively involved in the promotion of social
    welfare of a nations citizens.
  • They usually call for peaceful, gradual change
    within the existing political system.
  • They reject violent revolution as a way of
    changing the way things are, often called the
    status quo.

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King
What is a Moderate?
  • Moderates may share viewpoints with both liberals
    and conservatives.
  • They are seen as tolerant of other peoples
    views, and they do not hold extreme views of
    their own.
  • They advocate a go-slow or wait-and-see
    approach to social or political change.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) is generally seen as a
What is a Conservative?
  • People who hold conservative ideals favor keeping
    things the way they are or maintaining the status
    quo if it is what they desire.
  • Conservatives are usually hesitant or cautious
    about adopting new policies, especially if they
    involve government activism in some way.
  • They feel that the less government there is, the
  • They agree with Jeffersons view that the best
    government governs least.

Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) is widely regarded as
the father of the modern conservative movement
What is a Reactionary?
  • Sitting on the far right of the ideological
    spectrum, reactionaries want to go back to the
    way things werethe good ol days. Often
    reactionaries are willing to use extreme methods,
    such as repressive use of government power, to
    achieve their goals.
  • The term reactionary is generally negative. A
    positive way to say the same thing is

Hitlers Mein Kampf is a typical reactionary
Liberal v. Conservative
  • Liberal
  • Health care to ordinary people national system
  • Cure the economic and social causes of crime.
  • Regulate business for public interest
  • Spend less on military
  • Tax rich more, reduce the inequality in income
  • Help the poor through employment
  • Conservative
  • Private insurance for health care
  • Punish not coddle the criminals
  • Businesses allowed to operate under free market
  • Spend more on military
  • Taxes should be kept low
  • People responsible for their own well being
    welfare takes away incentives to take care of

How ideological are Americans?
  • 1950 study The American Voter
  • 4 basic types of voters
  • Ideologues 12 of people connect their opinions
    to party lines
  • Group benefits voters 42 of people connect
    their opinion to their group (labor union,
    interest groups, class, race)
  • Nature of the Times Voter 24 - economic good
    times and bad times
  • No issue content 22 - no reason for the way
    they voted in an election (think now about looks,
    how they sound, personal characteristics of the

Political Spectrum
The Political Spectrum
American Politicians on the Spectrum
  • Here is how one website places important American
    political figures on the spectrum. You can take
    the quiz at http//www.madrabbit.net/webrabbit/qui

Where leaders stand on the political spectrum?
Political Participation
  • Amendments
  • 15th all males
  • 19th females
  • 23rd residents of DC
  • 24th no poll tax
  • 26th lowered age to 18
  • Laws
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 (extended in 1970, 1975
    and 1982)
  • Motor Voter Law 1993 made registration easier
    for all those wanting to vote

Supreme Court involvement in Voting
  • Oregon v.Mitchell no literacy tests
  • SC v. Katzenbach Voting Rights Act
  • Gomillion v. Lightfoot no gerrymandering
  • Smith v. Allwright no all white primaries
  • Harper v Virginia Board of Elections no poll
    tax for state elections
  • Guinn v. United States no racial
  • Dunn v.Blumstein no more than 30 days for
    residency for registering to vote

Who votes?
  • Voters tend to be
  • Higher educated
  • Higher income
  • Employed, government employees
  • Older
  • Midwestern section
  • Caucasians
  • Presidential Elections
  • General Elections
  • Those that tend not to vote
  • Satisfied with the government
  • Apathy
  • Predictions already made
  • Too many offices
  • Timing day of the week
  • Role of the Political Parties

Reasons for voting
  • Sociological
  • Income - higher
  • Occupational skilled
  • Education higher
  • Gender males
  • Age older
  • Religion church goers
  • Ethnic
  • Psychological
  • Party identification (number one reason) long
  • Decreasing due to the number of increasing
    independents and split ticket voting
  • Candidates and Issues
  • Short term
  • Image
  • Pocket book

Most common forms of participation
  • Watch Television
  • Voted
  • Influence somehow
  • Political Meeting
  • Work for candidate
  • Give money

Election participation
  • 2000 participation
  • 82 watched the campaign on tv
  • 73 voted in the election
  • 34 tried to influence others how to vote
  • 10 put a sticker on their car
  • 9 gave money to help a campaign
  • 5 attended a political meeting
  • 3 worked for a party or candidate
  • Is this true? 73 of people voted - NO

Types of voting
  • Straight ticket voting vote for one party and
    only one party
  • Split Ticket voting switch between parties for
    different offices
  • Prospective voting what promises have been made
  • Retrospective voting record of candidates
  • Ballot fatigue vote for a few offices, but get
    too tired to finish the entire ballot

Elections in the United States
  • Function
  • Determine the leaders and the policies to be
  • Legitimacy of the issues, plans
  • Role of the party is a label

The winner take all system
  • In order to win an election, you need to win only
    a plurality (the most) of the votes
  • Versus
  • Proportional Representation
  • Single Member Districts

Types of elections
  • Nomination Phase Step One
  • Self announcement
  • Primary and Caucus
  • Open v. closed v. Blanket
  • Presidential v. Congressional
  • National v. Regional
  • Role of incumbency and lame duck
  • Coattail effect
  • Every two or four years

Campaigns and Elections
  • How the president, and members of Congress are
    actually elected to office?

Function of the Election
  • Choose over 500,000 public roles
  • Contest between political parties (general
    election interparty fight)
  • Winner take all the person with the most votes
    (plurality) not 50 (majority) wins the seat
  • Plurality v. majority
  • Single member districts one representative per

Presidential Election Process
  • Each state holds a primary or caucus between
    January and June to determine the candidates from
    each party (intraparty contest)
  • Candidates then enter the general election
    against other parties (interparty contest)
  • More people will vote in a general election in
    2004 50 voted in general election with only
    about 25 voting in the primaries

Congressional v. Presidential elections
  • Congress elections are REGIONAL
  • Senate by State House by district
  • House elections are less competitive than Senate
    or president
  • Incumbents rep. up for reelection usually win
    elections by at least 605
  • Congressional elections every two years fewer
    people vote in off year elections or mid term
    elections which means voters in these elections
    are more activist

Congressional v. Presidential
Congressional v. Presidential
  • Coattail Effect presidential popularity
    effecting congressional elections during midterm
  • Congress communicates with their constituents
    more directly, often personally, while President
    relies on the media
  • Congress reps can deny responsibility and blame
    problems on other representatives or President

Running for President
  • Organization
  • Fund raisers, lawyers, accountants, media
    consultants, advisors, pollsters, --- staff of
  • Strategy and Themes
  • Tone, Theme, timing and Target

Running for Congress
  • Incumbents have huge advantage
  • Money, Time and Name Recognition
  • Franking Privileges
  • Cater to distrust by public of federal government
  • Run against Congress, not for it
  • Sophomore Surge

Steps to the White House
  • Announcements
  • Primaries and Caucuses
  • Front loading (New Hampshire and Iowa)
  • Win delegates
  • Convention
  • Party Unity
  • Rubberstamp
  • Platform Written
  • General Election
  • Labor Day through November
  • The people

Delegate Selection
  • Proportional System
  • Primary system used by the Democratic Party
  • Candidates are allocated the same percentage of a
    states delegates as they received in popular
  • Winner-take-all System
  • System used in most Republican primaries
  • The winner of the popular vote in that state
    receives all that states delegates

The Electoral College
  • 48 states utilize the Winner take all
  • Maine and Nebraska do not
  • Each State
  • Number of electors equals number of members in
  • One vote for President and One vote for Vice
  • Ballots in December
  • Changed from original by the 12th amendment
  • No winner House chooses the President (one vote
    per state) and Senate chooses the Vice President

(No Transcript)
Plans to reform the electoral college
  • District Plan one winner per congressional
    district and state as a whole
  • Proportional percentage of popular vote equals
    percentage of electoral vote
  • Direct election need 40 of the popular vote to
    win the election
  • National Bonus Plan changes the numbers of
    electoral votes
  • Problems rise in the influence of third parties

Election Reforms
  • FECA of 1971 and 1974
  • Limit if matching funds
  • FEC created
  • Creation of PACs and soft money
  • Buckley v. Valeo- no limit on expenditures but
    limit donations
  • Bipartisan Reform Act
  • No soft money
  • 527s created
  • No issue ads
  • Increase amounts to be donated by individuals

Types of elections
  • Maintaining
  • Critical Realigning
  • 1860, 1896 and 1932 switch party alliances for
    the election made more permanent changes
  • Dealignment
  • No party influence some changes but no long
    term effects
  • Reinstating
  • Return the original party to power
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