Opinion2 - Monday, August 23 POLS4510 PUBLIC OPINION AND...

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Monday, August 23 http://emwilk.myweb.uga.edu/POLS4510.html POLS4510 – PUBLIC OPINION AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (20597) What is public opinion? Models of public opinion and democracy Gauging public opinion
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Public opinion is not an aggregation of individual opinions, but an entity in and of itself. (Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau) Whole is greater than the sum of its parts What is Public Opinion? intensity George Gallop – polls are useful in guiding policy “common will” = Tyranny of the majority? Counterargument: Delegate vs. trustee model respondent sophistication
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What is public opinion? First. ..the public: Entire population? Adult public? Eligible public? Voting public? Issue public? (those particularly focused on one specific issue) What is Public Opinion?
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1. Expression of attitudes Directly observed (protest) Unobserved (predispositions) Erikson and Tedin definition : public opinion represents the preferences of adult population of issues relevant to government What is Public Opinion? 2. Disagreement of opinions (best music) And…opinion What is public opinion?
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Two main components of opinion: Affect – general feelings. Reasons behind why someone thinks the way they do. Defining Public Opinion Cognition – process of organizing political knowledge and expressing opinion based on this knowledge.
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1. Rational Activist Model Models of Public Opinion and Democracy Given low levels of political awareness, this sequence is unlikely. requires an active and informed electorate must be aware of where candidates stand on issues Voters chose candidates closest to them on the issues Does this model capture reality?
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Federalism (elections for federal, state, and local governments) and Separation of Powers serve as barriers Models of Public Opinion and Democracy 2. Political Parties Model Parties serve as shortcuts for voters. Platforms allow voters to choose which party is closer to their views. Does this model capture reality? However, Maybe: Political elites are arguably more polarized than they’ve been in 100 yrs. Party ID is the most powerful predictor of the vote / attitudes Decline in ticket-splitting People increasingly see important differences between the parties
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Trends of Party Identification Partisan voting in House and Presidential elections, 1952 – 2004 (Bartels) 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 President House
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This note was uploaded on 10/25/2010 for the course POLI 4510 taught by Professor Wilk during the Fall '10 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Opinion2 - Monday, August 23 POLS4510 PUBLIC OPINION AND...

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