7. Public Opinion, Ideology, Participation, and Voting

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Public Opinion, Ideology,
Participation, and Voting
7
Learning Objectives
7.1
7.2
7
Identify the forces that create and
shape individuals’ political attitudes
Describe the key dimensions of public
opinion, how public opinion is
measured, and the relationship
between public opinion and public
policy
Copyright © 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Learning Objectives
7.3
7.4
7
Compare and contrast political
ideologies and evaluate the critiques
of each ideology
Identify forms of political
participation, and assess the effect on
voter turnout of demographic, legal,
and electioneering factors
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Learning Objectives
7.5
Analyze why people vote the way
they do in elections
2.2
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7
Forming Political Opinions
and Values
 Political Socialization
 Stability and Change
 Awareness and Interest
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7.1
Political Socialization
 Family influences political partisanship
 Schools
 Pledge of Allegiance introduces respect for country
 Peers and social media
 Mass media
 Selective exposure
 Other influences
 Religious, ethnic, racial backgrounds
 Not all conform to stereotypes
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7.1
Facebook
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7.1
Stability and Change
 Core values remain stable over time
 Extra ordinary events can be catalysts
for change
 Deliberation and social capital
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7.1
FIGURE 7.1: Comparison of opinion of
President George W. Bush and Barack
Obama with attitude on abortion over time
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7.1
Awareness and Interest
 Poor public knowledge of candidates and
issues
 Attentive public is approximately 25% of
total adult population
 Participants have more influence than
nonparticipants
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7.1
7.1 Which of the following is the
most powerful agent of socialization?
a. Schools
b. The mass media
c. Peer groups
d. Family
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7.1
7.1 Which of the following is the
most powerful agent of socialization?
a. Schools
b. The mass media
c. Peer groups
d. Family
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7.1
Public Opinion: Taking the
Pulse of the People
 What Is Public Opinion?
 Public Opinion and Public Policy
 Measuring Public Opinion
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7.2
What Is Public Opinion?
7.2
 Distribution of individual preferences
within a specific population
 Proportion of people with an opinion vs. those opposing
or without
 Most accurately measured through polling
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Measuring Public Opinion
 Random sampling and margin of error
Intensity
 Measures how strongly an individual holds a particular
opinion
 Latency
 Political opinions that are held but not yet expressed
 Salience
 An individual’s belief that an issue is important or
relevant to him or her
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7.2
Polls
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7.2
TABLE 7.1 The way you ask the question
matters
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7.2
TABLE 7.2: Differing opinions on gay
marriage
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7.3
Public Opinion and Public
Policy
 Polling
 How politicians are informed of public opinion
 Polls are paid by politicians, public, or the media
 Cyclical relationship
 Opinion shapes policy, which shapes opinion
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7.2
7.2 Which of the following refers to
the proportion of the population that
holds a particular opinion?
a. Salience
b. Margin of error
c. Latency
d. Distribution
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7.2
7.2 Which of the following refers to
the proportion of the population that
holds a particular opinion?
a. Salience
b. Margin of error
c. Latency
d. Distribution
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7.2
Political Ideology and
Attitudes Toward Government




Liberalism
Conservatism
Socialism and Communism
Libertarianism
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7.3
Liberalism
 Contemporary liberals
 Believe that government can bring about justice and
equality of opportunity
 Criticisms of liberalism
 Over-reliance on government, taxes, and bureaucracy
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7.3
Pro-abortion protest
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7.3
Conservatism
7.3
 Traditional conservatives
 Believe in private property rights and free enterprise
 Social conservatives
 Focus less on economics and more on morality and lifestyle
 Criticisms of conservatism
 Urge more government when it serves their own purposes
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No Child Left Behind
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7.3
TABLE 7.3: Differences in political ideology
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7.2
Senator Jim DeMint
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7.3
Senator Richard Durbin
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7.3
Socialism and Communism
7.3
 Socialism — public ownership of the means
of production
 Wide role for government-provided social programs
 Communism – state-owned property and a
single political party
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Libertarianism
 Stress individual liberties and sharply
limited government
 Support withdrawal from United Nations
 Would repeal laws that regulate personal
morality
 Ron Paul
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7.3
FIGURE 7.2: Ideology over time
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7.3
7.3 Which ideology is emphatically
pro-business?
a. Socialism
b. Communism
c. Liberalism
d. Conservatism
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7.3
7.3 Which ideology is emphatically
pro-business?
a. Socialism
b. Communism
c. Liberalism
d. Conservatism
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7.3
Participation: Translating
Opinions into Action





Voting
Turnout
Who Votes?
Mobilization
How Serious Is Nonvoting?
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7.4
FIGURE 7.3: Political participation and
awareness in the United States
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7.4
Voting
 Registration
 Has discouraged voting due to extra step
 Motor Voter bill
 Eases registration burdens
 Absentee and Early Voting
 2008 marked a historical high for absentee voters
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7.4
TABLE 7.4: Women’s suffrage timeline
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7.4
TABLE 7.5: Changes in voting eligibility
standards since 1870
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7.4
Turnout
 United States holds more elections than
any other democracy
 General
 Primary
 Special
 Turnout is highest in presidential general
elections; lowest in local elections
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7.4
FIGURE 7.4: Voter turnout in presidential
elections, 1789–2008
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7.4
FIGURE 7.5: Voter turnout in presidential
and midterm elections, 1992–2010
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7.4
Who Votes?
7.4
 Education is the most important predictor
in whether people will vote
 Race
 Ethnic background
 Women have voted in greater numbers
than men since 1984
 Due to increasing levels of education and employment
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7.4
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Mobilization
 “Banking” the vote
 Mailings and phone calls
 Early voting
 Canvassing potential voters
 Undecided “swing” voters
 Focus of major mobilization efforts
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7.4
How Serious Is Nonvoting?
 40% of eligible citizens fail to vote
 Approximately 80 million people
 Some argue nonvoting does not change
outcomes
 Low voter turnout may indicate approval
of the status quo
 High voter turnout may signal desire for change
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7.4
TABLE 7.6: Why people do not vote
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7.4
7.4 Which of the following is likely to
draw the highest turnout?
a. Congressional special election
b. Gubernatorial primary election
c. Municipal mayoral election
d. Presidential general election
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7.4
7.4 Which of the following is likely to
draw the highest turnout?
a. Congressional special election
b. Gubernatorial primary election
c. Municipal mayoral election
d. Presidential general election
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7.4
Voting Choices




Voting on the Basis of Party
Voting on the Basis of Candidates
Voting on the Basis of Issues
The Impact of Campaigns
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7.5
Voting on the Basis of Party
7.5
 Party identification
 Voters vote most often for a person from the party they
prefer
 Importance of independent voters
 Increasing numbers
 Left-leaning, pure independents, right-leaning
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Voting on the Basis of
Candidates
 Candidate appeal
 Background
 Personality
 Leadership ability
 Candidate-centered politics
 Minimizes partisanship
 Private lives and personal character
 “Character cops”
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7.5
Voting on the Basis of Issues
 Issues are less important to voters than
Party ID or candidate appeal
 “Wedge issues”
 Retrospective issue voting
 Rewards/punishes incumbents for performance
 More likely than prospective issue voting
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7.5
The Impact of Campaigns
7.5
 Effective campaigns give voters reasons to
vote for their candidate
 Importance of money
 Spending more money does not guarantee a win
 Campaigns are often negative and personal
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7.5 Which of the following rewards
incumbents for good performance?
a. Party identification
b. Wedge issues
c. Prospective issue voting
d. Retrospective issue voting
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7.5
7.5 Which of the following rewards
incumbents for good performance?
a. Party identification
b. Wedge issues
c. Prospective issue voting
d. Retrospective issue voting
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7.5
Discussion Question
How would you describe your own political
attitudes? Liberal? Conservative? Does the
American political system allow for
independent ideologies? How?
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7

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