Book Notes Test 3 - Public Opinion THE NATURE OF PUBLIC OPINION Public opinion are the collective beliefs and attitudes of the public or groups within

Book Notes Test 3 - Public Opinion THE NATURE OF PUBLIC...

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Public Opinion THE NATURE OF PUBLIC OPINION Public opinion are the collective beliefs and attitudes of the public, or groups within the public, on matters of relevance to government Public opinion has four basic traits: o Salience is an issue’s importance to a person or to the public in general o Stability is the speed with which the change will occur, and the likelihood that the new opinion will endure o Direction in public opinion, the tendency for or against some phenomenon o Intensity is the strength of the direction of public opinion Race, gender, income, and political affiliation are all factors in how an individual forms an opinion on a certain issue ° POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION Political socialization is the learning process in which individuals absorb information and selectively add it to their knowledge and understanding of politics and government o Primacy the principle that what is learned first is learned best and lodged most firmly in one’s mind o Persistence the principle that political lessons, values, and attitudes learned early in life tend to structure political learning later on in life Ideology is a consistent set of ideas about a given set of issues o Liberal would generally favor a government that is active in promoting social equality and economic welfare (fall “left” of the political spectrum) o Conservative would generally favor a smaller government that interferes minimally in the economic sphere but actively promotes social morality (fall “right” where it’s occupied by political conservatives) ° Political Sophistication Grows As Children Grow Up Positive feelings towards various authority figures begin to decline during the late childhood period Family o The most reliable area of transmission from parent to child identification with a political party, that is, whether one considers oneself a Democrat, Republican, independent, or something else Religious institutions and traditions
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o Different religions and denominations teach different values with respect to punishment and mercy, social justice, the importance of law and authority, equality, and so on Peer groups o The salience of politics to adolescents is generally low and is largely unrelated to a child’s status within peer groups Educational system o Little evidence that school has a significant impact on partisan or issue attitudes The media o Political socialization depends on politically relevant information, often provided by the media ° Events That Socialize Can Have Generational, Period, Or Life-Cycle Effects Generational effects o Generational effect is the situation in which younger citizens are influence by events in such a fashion that their attitudes and beliefs are forever rendered distinct from those of older generations Period effects o Period effect is an event that influences the attitudes and beliefs of people of all ages Life cycle effects o
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