Poly Sci Chap 10 - What Is Public Opinion In the United...

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What Is Public Opinion? In the United States, we have basic constitutional guarantees: These allow citizens to express their views freely and to compel government leaders to take the public’s opinion into account if they want to keep their jobs. 1
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Scientific Polling Basic techniques: Select a random sample of the population. Ask the people in the sample some appropriate questions about their views. Count up their answers. The larger the sample, the better. 2
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Scientific Polling With a sample of 1200 to 1500 the margin of error is usually three percentage points. Another problem associated with polling is sample bias. 3
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The Origins of Public Opinion Public opinion is important because of its effect on political behavior , particularly voting. aggregate v. individuals To understand public opinion, we need to know where individual opinions come from. 4
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Attitudes Where do the individual opinions that collectively constitute public opinion come from? Underlying attitudes 5
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Attitudes Some people have an elaborate set of informed, organized, internally consistent attitudes Most people have more loosely structured sets of political attitudes Some have only rudimentary attitudes that offer little guidance in making sense of politics. 6
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Ideologies Organized sets of political attitudes often take the form of political ideologies. What are ideologies for? liberal and conservative . 7
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Ideologies: Liberals Favor using government to do what? They also believe the rich should be taxed at higher rates to finance social welfare programs .
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