Chapter%204 - POL 413 Assignment Complete the exercises in...

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POL 413 Assignment: Complete the exercises in this chapter. Type up your answers to Exercise 4.1 and Exercise 4.2. See "Sample Workbook Assignment" on Blackboard to see how you should format your answers. Be prepared to discuss in class on Wednesday, October 6 th . (As discussed in class, note that this due date is EARLIER than the original due date.) Do your own work, but by all means contact Prof. Clawson if you have any questions. 4 4 A TTITUDE S TABILITY AND A TTITUDE C HANGE On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 5–4 ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission. 1 The ruling overturned restrictions on corporate spending in elections that had been in place for decades. In the majority opinion, the justices argued that corporations have the same right as individuals to engage in political speech; therefore, limits on corporate spending violate free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. As a result of this decision, corporations are able to spend as much as they want to support or oppose political candidates. This ruling has several implications for U.S. citizens. For one thing, it means that citizens will be bombarded even more by political advertising during an election season. Corporations will be allowed to spend an unlimited sum of money to finance campaign advertisements for and against individual candidates. Will citizens be persuaded by these political advertisements? For persuasion to occur, two things must happen. First, citizens must be exposed to the persuasive 1
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messages. It does not matter how much corporations (and other entities) spend on campaign ads or how brilliant a message is if the intended audience never receives the communication. Second, citizens must accept the persuasive message. Citizens are not just blank slates influenced by every political communication they receive. Instead, citizens have pre-existing values and beliefs that help them decide whether to accept or reject a persuasive message. Thus, political predispositions matter when it comes to persuasion. Citizens are much more likely to accept a persuasive message if it is consistent with their values and beliefs. Furthermore, citizens with strong, well-established predispositions are better able to counter persuasive messages than those with weak predispositions. Therefore, citizens with weaker predispositions are more likely to change their minds in response to persuasive communication. This chapter begins with an analysis of which citizens are more likely to be influenced by persuasive messages. In addition, we will investigate attitude stability by examining citizens’ attitudes at the aggregate level. Does the public hold stable attitudes that are meaningful and well-reasoned or does it succumb to fits of passion that result in attitude volatility? The stability or instability of citizens’ attitudes cuts to the heart of whether citizens are capable of functioning effectively in a democratic society. If citizens change their opinions willy nilly, then it would not make sense for
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Chapter%204 - POL 413 Assignment Complete the exercises in...

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