12-2-09_P200_Notes - Voting and Public Opinion Public...

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Voting and Public Opinion Public Opinion - Are Americans politically informed, and politically sophisticated? -No! -Most Americans are very uniformed about policy and candidate positions -Most Americans are rather unsophisticated about political institutions and policy processes -Some highly informed and sophisticated segments of the population Public Opinion -Opinions do not require information or sophistication -Difficult to measure (sampling bias, question wording, etc) -Public Opinion shaped by partisanship -Opinion leaders and politicians seek to shape public opinion through “message framing” -Your perception of reality is shaped by the party that you are part of Political Ideology -Ideologies are coherent and organized sets of beliefs and principles that shape understanding of issues and events - Are Americans reliably ideological? -Not Really -Some Americans understand and have opinions consistent with ideological self- placement -But, for many, opinions do not really fall into consistent ideological categories -Meaning of liberal and conservative changes over time -Cognitive Dissonance: -People unaware of and uncomfortable with ideological ideology Is Public Opinion Meaningful? -If large segments of the public are… -Politically Ignorant and Inconsistently Ideological -Easily manipulated by opinion leaders and message “framing”, and if… -Public Opinion is so difficult to measure (question wording, sampling bias) … - How can public opinion play its assigned role in democratic politics? -Public Opinion Meaningful:
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2010 for the course PLSI 200 taught by Professor Schendan during the Fall '08 term at S.F. State.

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12-2-09_P200_Notes - Voting and Public Opinion Public...

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