The Culprits unmasked Generational replacement- more young people with tolerant viers entering the population and fewer older people with less tolerant views -Young republicans are thean twice as likely as senior republicans to favor same-sex marriage Democrats young adults and seniors largely agree on samme sex marriage. Education also matters as we have learned more about both issues. Questions: How are our opinions affected by those around us? Are our opinions developed by friends and family from day one? -Experiences and socialization -Key beliefs usually have their roots in early life; fairness;right vs. wrong; ideology -Persistence- the resilience of an opinion over time. -Ideology- a coherent collection of ideas about a given set of issues - we understand politics and events through the prism of our beliefs -What is your first political memory? (when Obama first got elected as president) How do you get someone to change their mind? -Education? Not always- what about those who watch TV news the most? -Those who watch the most news, tend to learn the least -They tend to watch news to hear their opinions supported - confirmation bias How are opinions formed? -Primacy- those things that influence you first tend to exercise a powerful influence. First impressions do matter! -How quickly? Conscious mind processes 40 bits of information per second; unconscious mind can process 11 million bits per second. -Studies of college students show that if asked to randomly interact with someone else in class, their first impressions will predict the quantity and quality of future interactions. -Important for candidates when voters are sizing them up -Important for influencing opinion on as issue. Major Influences -Family, church- how often and how credible do these institutions communicate about politics -When do they cause rebellion instead? -Schools- seek to promote values such as respect for authority, pride in government, patriotism -Power of Authority - Milgram Experiments -How many resist? Milgram Experiment -Location, support from others, absent authority figure reduce cooperation.
Socialization Agents - Secondary Influences Peers -Voter turnout study on shaming - michigan keeps track of who voted and data can be purchased for free -If you tell people “what if your neighbors knew you voted?’ and show them the data from the last elections, turnout increases 8% Media (echo chambers?) Leaders (who do you respect?) Events (the cuban missile crisis; watergate) Generational effects (Great Depression ; Vietnam) Life Cycle - do older people become more liberal or more conservative? How can we measure public opinion? Polling: Concerns- -Sampling Error or Margin of Error- in a random sample everyone should have roughly equal chance of being selected. The more individual polled the lower the error Literary Digest Poll -Selection Bias- who gets left out?