18PublicOpn_bw_ - American Government Lecture 18 Public...

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American Government Lecture 18 - Public Opinion
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Announcement Exam grades posted Wednesday Extra Credit Paper: If you are writing an Extra Credit paper you must clear your topic with me Experiment http://rutgers-econ.sona-systems.com/ New sessions scheduled In-class experiment 2 points, at start of class on Thursday
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Public Opinion Citizens’ opinions about political issues, leaders, institutions and events What we think about government Democracy relies upon the “will of the people” Aggregate opinion “Miracle of Aggregation” Participation requires effort, opinion does not Everyone has (or can have) opinions Some people just are louder about it Some people can defend them better than others Under our democracy, all opinions are equal
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Opinion Formation Not consciously attained You don’t have to think or work for these You have them without realizing Can be developed to a greater degree Opinions are not “better” or “worse” May be “more developed”, “better grounded”, etc. 4 Main factors in formation: Personal Values Political Ideology Political Knowledge Attitudes
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Personal Values Principles viewed as important to society Things that “make a good person/good society” Democracy relies on common values Things that everyone agrees with Otherwise there is too much conflict • Without agreement on basic values, democracy fails Different societies have different values • May just be different orderings American values: Liberty, Equality and Democracy* Individualism and Patriotism? Almost every “problem” is a conflict of these * - Many other ways to talk about this - ie. Capitalism and Democracy, etc.
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Origins of Values Political Socialization How people learn and develop values How you learn what the world is like and how you should interact with it Revolve around how you experience life 4 main agencies of socialization Family Social Groups Education Political Conditions
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Agencies of Socialization Family How children are raised • Authoritarian vs. Inclusive What kind of environment they grow up in What their parents believe Social Groups Any group that provides identity to its members • Gender • Race • Political Party • Socioeconomic Status • Urban/Rural distinctions Life and Death issues? Bowling Leagues?
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Agencies of Socialization Education Grade School Public or Private? • Local control over which values taught/emphasized College • Exposure to theories, outlooks and perspectives • Greater willingness to challenge authority/status quo Greater activism and participation Political Climate What is going in the world • And how does the media cover it What government is responding to War on Terror vs. Cold War
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Political Ideology Cohesive set of values and beliefs that form a
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2011 for the course POLI SCI 790:106 taught by Professor Andersen during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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18PublicOpn_bw_ - American Government Lecture 18 Public...

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