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34 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Normative Public Opinion

Public opinion should influence what government does in a democracy

Empirical Public Opinoin

Many people behave as thought public opinion matters, and thus measures and records, and reactions to public opinion are a factor in politics. We SHOULD listen to public opinion, its important. Whether you agree or not, you should be involved

Ideal Democratic Citizen

Concern for the common good and recognizes that democracy comes with obligations as well as rights (Americans have duty to be involved)

-Cares about more than themselves, sense of civic duty, participate in political system AND society.

-"Ask not what the country can do for you, rather what you can do for the country"


"unless mass views have some place in the shaping of policy, all talk about democracy is nonsense"

-Its hard to find someone that fits just one category. They could be more than one another but not completely in one category.

-Its not an either type of thing

-Americans usually fall in the middle, but can change into another category over time"

Horse-Race Polls

Asking about voting intentions in an effort to add drama to the campaign...everything becomes a reaction to the voter intentions

Our Uniformed Opinions

-99% know the president

-25% can name both Senators in their state (Dick Durban and Mark Kirk are IL)

-Only 16% could name the Chief Justice prior to the controversial Gore/Bush decision

-Being uniformed makes us less tolerant and less likely to protect freedoms"

Political Socialization

The process by which we learn our political orientations and allegiances

Agents of Political Socialization

People influencing you

-Family: Chief agent of socialization, especially in terms of party identification

Sources of Division (cont. 4 note cards following)

Education, Age, religion, geographical region, gender, race and ethnicity


Supposedly, opinions on issues and ideology do not change much. Engagement does though. *Opinion will not change with age*

-If you are conservative when young, you are conservative when you are older.


Gender and marriage gap are statistically significant. It used to be division between men and women in civic participation, its equaled out

-Gender gap: As women attained greater independence and education, the gap in participation has vanished and gap in ideology has grown (women tend to be more liberal)

-Marriage gap: Women who are married or widowed tend to be more ideologically/conservative


The differences are not consistent but are drastic on certain issues. Minorities are okay with spending

-Difference is greatest with regard to economic policy and race

-n!gga$ (think rims) overwhelmingly more democratic than whites-as a percent

-They are trying to get hispanics to have a distinct group or a group they are "most likely" to vote for.

Measuring and Tracking Public Opions

Sample Bias: Using a sample that over represents a portion of the population thus leading to errors in results and skewed information

-1000 to 2000 can represent 3 million if randomly drawn

How to watch for bad polls

Check the sample size. What types of questions are asked? Did it report the sampling error? look at the organization. Who did the poll? is it known for bias?

-Approach all polls critically; do not simply believe anything you hear, Listen to its results and argument

Types of Polls

-National Polls: GOOD. Polls to measure public opinion within a limited period of time using a nationally representative sample

-Campaign Polls: GOOD. Benchmark, tracking, and exit polls...Campaigns need data and information to properly craft their messages and target voters

-Pseudo-Polls: BAD.

*self selection: How can this be representative?

*Push Polls: Present false or negative information, often in hypothetical form, and ask respondents to react to it..therefore manipulating public oppinion (McCain 2000 South Carolina primary)

Tech, Challenges, and Accuracy

Accuracy: Generally very accurate; right in every presidential since 1980 except 2000 Bush/Gore (very close election)

-It predicts elections

Who votes and Who Doesn't

-People fit into multiple categories

-Age: 18-20 groups have only exceeded 50% in 3 elections. Likelihood increases with age

-Gender: Women are more likely to vote than men

-Education: Education is historically one of the strongest predictors. College educated voted 92% 2004...slightly lower than 2008

Why Don't We Vote

Legal obstacles

-Registration laws in the US decrease voter turnout

*Advanced registration, responsibility is not on the government to get people registered, voting not required by law. Can't register at the poll so people dont bother.

-Vote fatigue: 8-12 times every 4 years in the US. Also consider how many positions we vote to fill

-Voting on Thursdays limits turnout: people are at work. In other countries voting day is a holiday so more people can participate

-Limited access to by mail option but a pain, mailing is a lot of work.

Choosing a Candidate

Partisianship and Social group membership: Party affiliation is the largest factor. Remember, party ID is a useful heuristic. Gender, Race, & ethnicity: When women cross party lines...female republicans will switch to female democrat.

-African Americans have voted democratic in overwhelming majority since the 1960s. Ethnicity is less clear, though there are some tendencies...and battles for votes. If you are married, you tend to be a republican

Choosing a Candidate (cont.)

Issues and Policy

-Prospective Voting: Voters base their decisions on policies and positions and positions they believe will be enacted and support by their candidate IN THEIR FUTURE

-Retrospective Voting: Voters base their decisions on the state of current events and hold those in power in accountable (1980 Reagan and "you are better", 2008, Obama tied McCain to the Bush years)

-The Candidates: Image matters: Kennedy v Nixon debate (the first televised debate). Kennedy wore make up and looked good and prepared. Nixon looked older and unprepared

Getting Nominated

*Pre-primary Season (Long period of time):

-The invisible primary: Talk to fellow politicians, gather early support, collect campaign cash, leak the rumor to media, visit Iowa, form exploratory committee, make the announcement

Getting Nominated (Cont.)

*Primaries and Caucuses:

-Party Caucus: Local party members meet and discuss/debate, then vote delegates

-Presidential Primary: Voters cast ballots for delegates

-Open Primary: Any voter can vote in any primary regardless of party affiliation

-Closed Primary: Only Voters registered with the associated party affiliation may vote in that party's primary. Identify and register with party before you vote.

Getting Nominated (Cont.)

*Choosing a Vice President:

It is NOT the runner-up. President comes from the east coast, going to pick someone from the West. If the president does not know foreign policy, they are going to pick someone who is god with foreign policy. That is why Obama chose Biden.

Electoral College

270 votes to win (538 total), California has 53 reps, 2 senators= 55 electoral votes.

Three Sources to Run Campaign

Time, people, and that sweet sweet Cash moola

-They all exist to manage the candidates time, money, and people they have working (volunteers and such)

Issues Candidate will Address

Valence issues: Issues which we ALL agree (strong economy, fighting terrorism, etc.)

Position Issues: Issues with 2 sides where candidates attempt to drive a wedge in voters (abortion, spending, military use, etc.) Public and large are divided.

Wedge Issues: Issues that drive a wedge WITHIN a party (Republican being pro-choice). More of a strategy. Ex. *Republican candidate would want to bring up affirmative action. However, Democrats are not unified on the issue.* As a republican candidate, you want to split your opponents supporters. If you talk about affirmative action, it would drive a wedge. Bring people to your team.

Issue Ownership: Defining the issues that voters should be most concerned about in an election

Negative Advertising

Daisy ad 1964: Little girl picking flower, then an explosion. (Johnson vs. Goldwater) *watch it on youtube its fcked up lol*

Hard Money

Regulated by FEC: directly to candidate ($2500 maximum)...Citizens united will change everything

Sources of Information

-Internet: Only source of information that has gained in population, some stayed same and decreased

-Newspapers: Largely tapered off. Not fast enough to keep up with. The price is often a problem when there are free alternative (internet)

-Dwindling readership has cut revenue forcing many papers to go out of business and others to rely on the major papers for information and reporting. Competition between local papers is nearly non-existent..Most cities have one daily



Who Owns the Media

Early American Press (bias): Only newspapers and they were tied to politicians. We see this change in early 1800s because more Americans became involved in the political process; newspapers were able to break free away from patronage networks. Now they could just sell papers to average person and that would give them all the money they need. If you have a bias, you are going to piss people off and make others happy.

-Newspapers become less biased and report things as they are.

Who Owns the Media (Cont.)

Growth of Media Independence: In order to sell more papers and make more money, papers sought to be politically impartial (not bias) *THIS WAS AN ECONOMIC DECISION JUST BECAUSE OF JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY (on test 100%)

-Modern Media: Corporate Power

-Advertising provides 5x the revenue that circulation does...and advertisers want to reach the most people. SO how can sources with smaller audiences compete?

-There are 6 corporations that own all of the major media sources (time-warner, Disney, GE, etc.)

Regulation of Broadcast Media

Equal Time Rule: All Candidates have to be allowed to buy or use airtime if one is allowed.

-Fairness Doctrine, Right of Rebuttal, New Neutrality

-Only group not owned by one of the corporations-Christianity

Typical Journalist:

-85% White

-67% Male

-More journalists are liberal/democrat


-Over 10 million orphans waiting to be adopted world-wide

-Senator Lugar acted on behalf of Nate's parents.