Public%20Opinion

Public%20Opinion - Public Opinion Click to edit Master...

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Click to edit Master subtitle style Public Opinion
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Outline Ø Opinion Polling Sample Error Problems with polling Ø Constraints of Political Culture Ø Effects of Polarization Political Knowledge Ø Presidential Approval Ø 2008 Demographic Voting Patterns Gender, Race, Marital Status, Religion, Ideology, Party ID Ø Public Opinion on Select Issues
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Public Opinion Ø The Basics A simple definition : Public opinion is a snapshot measure of where a majority of the public stands on a political issue Why is public opinion important? : A democratic government should respond to the public will » But America has a republican form of government, not a pure democratic form of government, so government policies don’t always reflect the majority opinion of the people Opinion Polls : Public opinion is typically measured by conducting polls of 500 to 1500 people, who are chosen through “scientific” means » A “scientific” poll will choose a few hundred people randomly and produce a demographic profile very similar to the millions of potential voters in a presidential election Ø For example, if men make up 48% of the voting age population, then 48% of the respondents in the poll should be men
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Opinion Polling Sample Error Mathematically, we take a poll of 1000 people and generalize that the results represent 130 million voters, within a “margin of error” of +/- 3%
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Opinion Polling Sample Error Hypothetical Example: 1000 respondents; sample error +/- 3% Question : Do you support “aggressive interrogation” techniques, such as head slapping, subjecting prisoners to cold temperatures, and water-boarding of those accused of terrorist plots—or—would you rather interrogators “use non-aggressive” techniques that could not be construed in any way as torture, such as good cop/bad cop questioning? Non-aggressive techniques 52% (range with error: 49% to 55%) Aggressive interrogations 48% (range with error: 45% to 51%) 54% 46% 52% 48% 50% Range of support for aggressive interrogations Range of support for non-aggressive techniques
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Problems with Opinion Polling Version A:   Do you agree or  disagree with this statement:  Any able bodied person can  find a job and make ends  meet.       Agree 65%      Disagree 25%      No opinion 10% Version B:    Some people feel that  any able-bodied person can find a  job and make ends meet.  Others  feel there are times when it is hard  to get along and some able-bodied  people may not be able to find 
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Public%20Opinion - Public Opinion Click to edit Master...

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