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44 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What does public opinion suffer from?
an inclination to pretend that one is informed (not limited to arcane bits of legislation)
Origins of Political Attitudes?
Race & Region
Role of the Family?
Children are more independent of their parents in their policy preferences than in party identification. Our political ideology (core beliefs) reflect our genes more than parental teaching. Whether we are liberal or conservative is in large part inherited.
Effects of Religion?
Catholic families are usually more liberal than Protestant ones. Jewish families are more liberal as well.

Protestants are more likely to be Republican, Catholics - Democrats and Jews - Democrats.
Role of Education?
Academics tend to be more liberal than members of other occupations.

Students teach each other through campus organizations, political movements, and social contact.

Effects of Gender?
Gender gap effects political parties. Women were more likely to be Republicans than men in the 1950s. Since the late 1960s, that has switched because the parties have changed their positions (such as prohibition and gun control, and threat of war)
Effects of Race?
Whites and Blacks disagree on issues like the death penalty, increased spending for national defense, and nathional health insurance.

Blacks - Liberal (Democratic)
Effects of Region?
Northerners and Southerners differ in political opinions. Mainly because of the mix of races and religions.
Four Ideologies?
Economic and Social issues. They want the government to reduce economic inequality, regulate business, tax the rich heavily, deal with crime by addressing its economic causes, protect the rights of accused criminals, allow abortion on demand, free speech and press.
Less government regulation of business, lower taxes, greater reliance on markets, advocate getting tough on criminals, punishing pornographers, cutting back on welfare payments.
Advocats of free markets, low taxes, small government, personal freedom in social matters - speech, drug use, and abortion.
Liberal on economic matters, desiring government regulation of business and heavy federal spending on public programs.

Conservative on social matters. Opposing abortion on demand, favoring crackdown on crime, drug use, and pornography. Favor legalizing prayers in school.
New Class?
People with college and postgraduate degrees.

(live in big cities, have jobs that involve manipulating symbols - writers, actors, reporters, teachers - rarely attend religious services, liberal views and vote Democratic.
Culture War?
The clash between the new class and the traditional middle class.
Roles of National Press?
Important because government officials in Washington pay great attention to what the media says about them. Also because reporters and editors for the national press tend to differ from local journalists (better paid, graduates of prestigious universities and more liberal)

National press plays the role of gatekeeper (pick which subjects become national political issues), scorekeeper (help make political reps, who is being mentioned, etc), and watchdog for the federal government (desire to expose scandals and investigate personalities, etc)
Political Orientation for Journalists?
They are much more likely to be liberal and to vote for Democrats.
Factor that is a bias at work with Journalists?
Intense, relentless competition among television networks for an audience. This competition has driven broadcasters to search desperately for something to say to fill up the hours. Hence scandals, accusations, unconfirmed reports, and endless punditry.
Influence of Media Opinions on Opinion and Politics?
The media is not likely to affect the outcome of important elections simply because people already have some knowledge and strong beliefs about the matters.

However, on the matters they are not well informed on - they do.
Effects of TV? Qualities that appeal to TV news broadcasters?
Sound Bites (10 second phrases)
Prettiness (attractive people, etc)
Rise and Decline of American Parties/America's 3 party system/strengths of parties today?
First party system - weak because it was the first, no ancestral party loyalty to defend and the early parties were essentially small groups of local notables.

Second party system - political participation became a mass phenomenon with an enormous increase in the number of men eligible to vote.

Third party system - Modern Republican party.
Democratic reforms of the 1970s: goals and effects?
The Democrats (starting in 1972) developed an elaborate set of rules designed to weaken the control of local party leaders over delegates and to increase the proportion of women, young people, and minorities attending the convention.

The general thrust of these rules commissions during the 1970s was to broaden the antiparty changes begun by the Progressives at the beginning of this century.
Role of Electoral College in laws in our two party system?
The presidential candidate who carries a state, even with a minority of the popular vote, gets all of that state's electoral votes.

Plurality - getting more votes than any other candidate.

The most dramatic example of the plurality system is the American electoral college.
Types of Minor Parties?
Ideological Parties
One-Issue Parties
Economic-Protest Parties
Factional Parties
Do the minor parties differ?
A significant difference in the general policy attitudes of the two parties, especially amond leaders and activists. Some differences in preference are evident between rank-and-file voters who identify with one party or another.

Voters who are with the Democratic party were slightly more liberal on a number of policy questions.
Reasons for proliferation of interest groups?
1. The more cleavages in a society, the greater the variety of interests that will exist.

2. The decentralized American constitutional system contributes to the number of interest groups by multiplying the points at which groups can gain access to the government. The more chances there are to influence policy, the more interest groups there will be that seek to influence policy.

3. The weakness of political parties in this country may help explain the number and strength of interest groups.
Tactics of Interest Groups - Which one is most important?
To generate a dramatic newspaper headline, movilize a big letter-writing campaign, stage a protest demonstration, file suit in a federal court to block some government action, or supply information quietly to key legislators.

Most Important: The ability to supply credible information to the right person.
PAC's and Electoral Law Reforms of the 1970s/Types of PACs?
PACs-political action committees.

Almost any kind of organization can form a PAC. More than half of all PACs are sponsored by corporations, about a tenth by labor unions, and the rest by a variety of groups, including ideological ones.
Campaigns & Elections: who participates? types of participation?
WHO - those who tend to have more education and higher incomes are the most active in participation. Older people are more active than younger ones, and men are more active than women. Blacks participate less than whites.

TYPES - One way to participate are the complete activists. The individuals outside government who actively promote their political party or issue by voting, giving money to candidates, working in political campaigns, and joining interest group organizations.
Relative party loyalties of Republicans and Democrats/which party is more successful with independents?
More people tend to identify with the Democratic party than with the Republican party.

However, the Republicans have won more votes from independents.
Party realignment - definition?
The issues that separate the two parties change, and so the kinds of voters supporting each party change. This shift may occur at the time of the election or just after, as the new administration draws new supporters. (Five realignments so far)
Voting coalitions of the two parties?
Blacks are the most loyal Democrats, next to them Jewish. Most Hispanics as well, however Cuvan Americans often vote Republican.

The Republican coalition is often described as the party of business and professional people. This loyalty is very strong.
Effect of television/amount of information in television vs. political commercials?
Radio and TV may tend to reinforce existing beliefs but it is not clear that they change them.

Two ways to use TV: to run paid ads and by getting on the nightly news broadcasts.

Poll data DID suggest that voters who watched the debates in 1980 were reassure by Reagan's performance.
Campaign reform laws & Campaign Finance/Sources of money and effects?
First reform law limited individual contributions to federal candidates to a grand per election and PAC contributions to give grand per election. But most money candidates spent came from individual donors, and very few PACs ever gave anything like their maximum donations.
Civil vs. Criminal Law?
Civil law generally covers disputes between individuals (family law like divorce/custody).

Under Criminal law, the complaining party is "the state" or "the people." (defendent/prosecutor - example: murder, theft, etc.)
Trial vs. Appellate Courts?
Trial courts take evidence, hear testimony, determine guilt or innocence, etc.

Appellate courts hear appeals from the losing party at the lower-court level claiming that procedures were unfair or the law wrongly interpreted and applied.
Levels of Texas Judicial System?
Supreme Court & Court of Criminal Appeals

Courts of Appeals

District Courts

County-Level Courts

Justice Courts & Municipal Courts
Dual High Courts and Jurisdiction and method of selection of members?
Texas Supreme Court:
-Civil cases only
-Only about 150 cases a year
-Sets judicial rules and policies for all other Texas courts

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals:
-Only Criminal cases
-Come directly from the district courts except for death penalty cases
-Decides 250 to 300 cases each year

Federal Judges are nominated by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Texas focus' on responsiveness by subjecting most judges to partisan elections and all of the public speaking and campaigning that goes along with it.
Local Governments and Dillon's Rule?
Dillon's Rule - local governments are "creatures of state governments"

Texas local governments do not have their own constitutions; they have only those powers granted to them by the state's constitution and laws.
Number of Texas counties?

More counties than any other state.
Role of commissioners court/type or types of powers it exercises?
Commissioners Court - it is the chief policymaking and administrative institution of county government. Does not have direct authority over most other county officials, it does have some control over the county budget.

Passes ordinances, sets the property tax rate, adopts the budget, appoints senior administrators, awards contracts fro building, road construction, and repair, and generally monitors county government.
Roles/Powers of county judge?
The county's chief legislator and executive. Presides over the commissioners court, sets the agenda, and participates in all of the debates.
Three forms of municipal government permitted by Texas Constitution? Their nature? Relative popularity?
Strong mayor and Weak mayor, council-manager form, and the commission form.