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topic 7 - b Respond to various forms of participation D...

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TOPIC 7 PUBLIC OPINION AND PARTICIPATION INTRODUCTION A. What Do People Want Government to Do? 1. Popular sovereignty requires agreement between the wishes of the governed & actions of govt. 2. How do we find out what the people want? B. One Answer: Scientific Polling (mid-1930s) 1. Uses samples to measure opinions of a population-began in the 1930s 2. “Pulse of democracy” to check and guide policy makers C. Other ways to find out what people want—participation I. PUBLIC OPINION A. The sum of individual attitudes about an issue or question B. Elements of Public Opinion 1. Direction 2. Stability 3. Intensity 4. Salience 5. Public opinion on most important problems facing the Nation: Economy, Crime, Health Care, Drugs C. Why Public Opinion Is Not an Adequate Guide for Governing 1. All four elements most occur together a. One or more elements missing on most issues b. Public opinion is often based on ignorance c. Public opinion is fluid and fickle
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2. Process as important as outcome a. Constitution insulates government from public opinion
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Unformatted text preview: b. Respond to various forms of participation D. Interpreting Public Opinion Polls 1. Did you ask the right people?—random sample. 2. What’s the margin of error?—the importance of luck 3. What was the question?—the importance of wording 4. Which came first?—the importance of question order II. ORIGINS OF PUBLIC OPINION A. Political Culture 1. Consensus on a set of beliefs about basic political values , the legitimacy of political institutions, and broad acceptance of the process by which government makes policy 2. The channel through which changing currents of public opinion flow—the boundaries of public opinion 3. Stable and enduring 4. Agree on basics, but can disagree on specifics B. Political Socialization 1. The lifelong process through which a younger generation learns political values from previous generations 2. Agents of socialization a. Family b. Schools c. Peers d. Personal events and experiences e. Mass media...
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topic 7 - b Respond to various forms of participation D...

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