Lesson 5aL - Public Opinion. The aggregate of individual...

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Unformatted text preview: Public Opinion. The aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs shared by some portion of the adult population. Consensus General agreement among the people on an issue. Divisive Opinion Public opinion that is polarized between two quite diff different positions. Life experiences affecting political choices. Agent of socialization Someone or something that facilitates that socialization. Examples Individuals – family, religious leaders, friends. Schools public Schools – public schools, colleges. colleges The media. (Current) Political and economic environment. Common thought that media strongly influences people. Factors that reduce the effect. People choose what they want to hear. People get their media info secondhand Opinion molder One who reinterprets info from media to peers. Media has little long term effect on opinions. People will want to believe what they want to anyway. BUT media does affect short term opinions. The public is exposed all day, everyday. Media has departed from objective reporting to subjective, opinionated reporting. The media used to have a cordial relationship with the Presidency, e.g., minimizing pictures of FDR in his wheelchair minimizing because it was a private matter, and as a result most Americans at the time didn’t know he was disabled. Newspapers were the primary means of communication in the early 19th century. communication It took a long time to distribute the papers. Objective reporting offended less people. So more people would buy a given paper. Yellow Yellow Journalism – sensationalized reporting. Muckracking Muckracking – exposing scandals and dirt. dirt. Pack Pack journalism – tendency for reporters and news orgs adopting adopting the same view. So one doesn’t outscoop the others. Role of the watchdog. Another check on politics and government. Is there a professional obligation to uncover the truth, no bli matter what it may be? Largest source of bias – negative reporting. negative Dirt is more fun to hear than the truth. Trend towards candidate’s image. News programs focus more on candidates viability and electability, rather than policies. “Who looks better?” Also, large urban newspapers tend to be liberal. Agenda setting. Deciding which issues deserve coverage. News management. Manipulating the info released. Including leaking info. Making sure there are good “sound bites”. Actualities – sound bites delivered by politician to media. Controlling media access. Campaign advertising. Negative campaign ads are designed to create a biased. Regulation of media. E.g., FCC policies; equal air time requirement. FCC ti Public opinion poll. A sample of public opinions. Factors For reliability, sample should be representative of national population. Questions may be worded as to get a certain response. Exit polls Survey of voters coming out of polling places. Bandwagon effect. Voting for the candidate leading the race. Had effect when the West Coast saw exit poll results from the East Coast. Tracking polls. Polls that gauge public opinion over time. E.g., Presidential approval ratings. Those who come together for a common purpose, to influence policy. influence Through information. Through connections. Through political campaign donations. Political Action Committees (PACs). Supported by 1st Amendment. Right to assemble. Right to petition the government about grievances. Umbrella Organizations With a wide slate of interests. With Single issue organizations. Serving a specific interest. 3 major categories of interest groups. Occupational. Racial, Ethnic, Religious, Gender-based. Public Interest. Types Business groups E.g., U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Trade and Product associations. E.g., Florida Orange Growers; Labor Unions. Professional Associations. E.g., American Bar Association. E.g., Agricultural groups. Serves all sorts of purposes. from integration and equality to superiority and separatist movements. (that looks like a fun time doesn’t it?) Claim to represent the public good. E.g., MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Free-rider problem. Non-members who reap the benefits of a group’s work. Direct Lobbying. Persuading a legislator face-to-face. Conflict of interest – revolving door process. When a legislator becomes a lobbyist. Federal law requires a 1 year waiting period. Prevents the use of power/influence/promises. Grass-roots Lobbying. Persuading constituents, in hopes to persuade the legislator. Electioneering Groups electing people who support their goals. Education Not only educating people, but also collecting information. but Think tanks – research institutions I.e., they pay big names to come up with new policies, so that they they’re seen as “more legitimate.” Imagine if the KKK could hire Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jerry Seinfeld, and Elton John to be in their think tank! ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2009 for the course POLITICAL 1 taught by Professor Nguyen during the Spring '08 term at Saddleback.

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