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lecture01 - POLITICAL SCIENCE 141B PUBLIC OPINION AND...

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POLITICAL SCIENCE 141B: PUBLIC OPINION AND VOTING BEHAVIOR WEEK 1, LECTURE 1; OCTOBER 1, 2007 A. Overview of the class B. Defining Public Opinion 1. The “opinions” of the “public” on matters of relevance to the government a. Slightly different than Erikson and Tedin 2. What constitutes an opinion? a. Opinion: an imperfect indicator of an underlying, unobserved attitude i. Verbal expression of an attitude (Erikson and Tedin, p. 7) ii. Attitude: an enduring predisposition to respond A) Attitudes come from personal judgments B) Attitudes are latent, unobserved C) While attitudes can change, they are consistent over time 3. Who constitutes the public? i. Adult Population (voters and non-voters) ii. Registered, Likely Voters (voters only) A) Newsweek Poll 1) Democratic Voters in Iowa 2) Republican Voters in Iowa 4. Opinions about what? a. Relevance to the government i. Presidential Approval Ratings ii. Congressional Approval Ratings iii. Foreign Policy Issues C. Disagreements over public opinion abound 1. Public Opinion: The role of elites
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