Ch. 61.Define public opinion and political socializationPublic OpinionPolitically relevant opinions held by ordinary citizens that they openly expressConsists of views held by ordinary citizens that are openly expressedCharacterized by its direction, intensity, salience (importance)Political SocializationProcess by which individuals acquire their political opinionsBegins during childhood and continues into adulthood2.Measurement of Public OpinionElection returns are traditional way to assess public opinionIndicate how many votes each party received, not why voters acted as they didPublic Opinion PollsPolls/surveys are primary method for estimating public sentimentIn public opinion polls, few individuals (sample) are interviewed to estimate opinions of whole populationRandom Selection = Key to scientific pollingPrevents biased surveysProbability samplingSample in which each individual in population has known probability of being chosen @ random for inclusionSize of sample is key to political accuracy, not population sizeSampling ErrorTerm that accuracy of a poll is expressed inDefined as error that results from using a sample to estimate populationMeasure of how accurate an estimate of what population is thinking is likely to beThe larger the sample, the smaller the sampling errorUsually expressed as plus/minus %Ex. Sample of 1000 individuals has sample error of plus/minus 3% If 55% of the sample say they’re voting for republicans, there is a high chance only 52%-58% of voters actually plan to voteOpinion DimensionsDirectionRefers to whether ppl have pro/con position on issueEx. Poll asked respondents whether undocumented immigrants living in U.S. should/shouldn’t be given right to live/work here legallyWhen opinion is divided in its direction, issue is likely to cause partisan issueIntensityRefers to how strongly ppl feel about an issueEx. Poll asked respondents how important their position on abortion issue was to their vote (very, somewhat, not at all)Intense opinions tend to get politician’s attentionSalience Refers to how important ppl think an issue is relative to other issuesEx. Individual might have intense opinion on genetically modified food but may think it is less salient compared to issues like terrorismWhat is country’s most important issue?Problems w/ Polls
Ch. 6PhonesLots of ppl are selected for surveys through their phone #Some Americans don’t have phones and refuse to participate or aren’t homeAsked about Unfamiliar IssuesAccuracy of poll is diminishedSome ppl will still answer the question bc they don’t want to seem dumbSome ppl hide opinions over controversial issuesPoor Wording Poor word choice can confuse respondents and distort poll resultsEx. “Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of Jews never happened?