Exam_3_notes - Exam 3 notes 3/11/08 Public Opinion Public...

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Exam 3 notes 3/11/08 Public Opinion Public Opinion: The sum of the individual attitudes or beliefs about an issue or question. How Do we discovery what these are? -surveys or public opinion polls, 1930’s George Gallup In terms of our elected officials, how should these polls be used? -Delegate Model of representative democracy - elected officials are obligated to seek out and follow the views of their constituency when they make political decisions (i.e, encourage polls) -Assumes an informed public and accurate polls -Trustee System of Democracy - elected officials are the experts so they should make decision which they feel are correct whether or not they are supported by public opinion. -assumes an uniformed public Individual elected officials decide which model is best for themselves Survey research- the idea is to sample a subset of the population that you are interested in. Why take a sample? In most cases it is impossible to get responses from the entire population according to “science” this is all we need. Republicans favor actual count Democrats favor sampling Scientific vs. Non-scientific polls -Scientific polls follow an agreed upon procedure to generate reliable (believable) results -The population is the group that survey researcher is interested in. -if a “True sample” is generated you can make generalization from this sample to the general population. -according to “science” this would be accurate, the problem is that: -the “true sample” is almost never generated How to generate a true sample:
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-representative sample: every attribute of the subpopulation should be like the real population (i.e., gender, ethnicity, age, income, education, etc) -to get a representative sample we need to generate a random sample Literary Digest example in the 1936 Landon vs. Roosevelt - Used telephones and automobile registration lists Problems with generation a random sample 1) Is there any such thing as pure randomness? 2) Certain groups do not respond to surveys 3) Increase in phone solicitation, junk mail, email, cause a low response rate to surveys 4) Method used to generate a random sample often flawed Hence the bottom line is that: A true sample is never a generated sample, all you can do is try to get as close as possible. There are three things to consider: 1. The size of the population a. Homogeneity- the degree to which members of a population are alike in terms of characteristics we are interested in studying b. The more heterogeneous the population is, the more people we have to sample. c. So is it the case that the larger the population is, the large the sample has to be? d. Once the population gets to a certain size then the sample size are the same. (100,000)
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Exam_3_notes - Exam 3 notes 3/11/08 Public Opinion Public...

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