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10 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Be able to discuss the major characteristics of the political socialization process through which Americans acquire their political opinions.
Influences on political socialization:
--Peer groups
--Generational events
--Social groups (such as religion, region, income, gender)
--Education: is both a source of commonality and difference in the formation of political values and beliefs. Differences in amount of education, however, affect an individual's political perspective.
Understand the beliefs of each of the following ideologies with regard to the role of government in our society: Conservatives, Liberals, Libertarians, and Populists.
Conservatives: Those who believe the government should have minimal interaction with the economy but should be involved with setting social and moral standards
Liberals: Those who believe the government should do more to solve problems specifically with the environment and economic issues but stay out of social issues and morality
Libertarians: Limited government, economically and socially
Populists: Those who want the government to promote economic equality and have an impact in setting social and moral standards
What are the primary differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties?
Democratic: believe power should be in hands of national government
Republican: more supportive of state and local government
What are the strengths and weaknesses of a 2 party system?
Advantages of 2-party system:
--Moderate policy
Disadvantages of 2-party system:
--Limited options
--Limited minority representation
Why do we only have 2 major parties in America?
--Election laws that have been set up do not help 3rd parties
--3rd parties do not usually have the money and publicity that the 2 major parties have
--We vote for candidates and not parties so instead of each party having proportional representation, we elect candidates who are supported by the well-known parties.
What role have 3rd parties played in the history of America?
Although they rarely win elections they:
--Bring new groups and people into politics
--Influence the policy directions of Democrats and Republicans
--Some 3rd parties have enjoyed an influence far beyond their electoral size, such as the Progressives who were later absorbed by the Democrats
How are parties different from interest groups?
Interest groups pay political parties or pay the candidates' campaigns directly. When the candidate the interest group supports gets elected, they expect to be listened to.
Voting and political participation? Is it rational?
Political participation: all the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue
Is voting rational?
--Cost benefit analysis:
-Registering to vote
-Becoming informed
--Benefits of voting
-Probability your vote matters
-Fulfilling civic responsibilities
How informed is American public opinion and what are the weaknesses of polling?
The actual role of public opinion:
--Limited on minor issues
--Important on salient issues
How polls are conducted
--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

Poll weaknesses:
--Do not measure intensity
--Questions rarely coincide with actual policy choices
--Wording can bias respondent answers
--Achieving a representative sample
--Bandwagon effect
Understand the advantages of incumbency which members of congress enjoy.
Growth of national government has coincided nicely with growth in incumbency advantages.
--You can't lose providing constituent services
--44% of personal staff work in home offices doing constituency service work

--Incumbent's office and committee assignments make them better able to raise funds
--Incumbents have greater name recognition--key factor in electoral success