Political Science 2305 Notes for First Test on the Mass Media and Political Parties SSI 2018.doc

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THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIOGRANDE VALLEYPOLITICAL SCIENCE2305Summer Session I 2018For First Test________________________________________________________________________________________________Notes on the Mass Media: Setting the PoliticalAgenda; Political Parties: Organizing Politics;Campaigns and Elections: Deciding WhoGoverns; and Interest Groups: Getting theirShare and More.1
AMERICAN PUBLIC POLITICALOPINIONDespite most Americans having only a minor interest in politics and public policy, thefundamental assumption of our American Republic is that citizens have an idea of whatthey want government to do.American opinion has strong political consequences, when it is actually expressed.For example, as fewer Americans supported the war in Iraq, a similar decline in supportwas observed among politicians. The same was true of the Vietnam conflict (1961-1975).Assuming opinions shape voting decisions, many Americans voted for Democraticcongressional candidatesbecausethey opposed the war in Iraq.This was also the case as the Vietnam War raged. Americans saw the Vietnam War as“LBJ’s War” (President Lyndon B. Johnson), who was a Democrat, supported by theDemocratic members of Congress. So when congressional elections arose, as Americansbecame more disenchanted with the Administration’s stubbornness on Vietnam, they votedRepublican. Eventually, Americans elected a Republican President in 1968 (Richard Nixon).Americans hold strong opinions on a wide range of topics and these opinions shape theirpolitical behavior. However, from decade to decade the willingness of Americans to act ontheir opinions can vary considerably.People march in New York City in 1968 to protest the Vietnam War. Many Americanswere against the war. They participated in protests and demonstrations.2
Political process does matter with regard to the formation of opinion by Americans, as wellas to their motivation to act on the opinions. If the government is blatantly incompetent inthe political process on an issue, that may trigger strong opinions and direct protests fromAmericans.What is Public Opinion?

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Term
Winter
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
The American, Political action committee, super pacs, Big Media

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