Public Opinion - Public Opinion Public GOV 310L GOV Points...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Public Opinion Public GOV 310L GOV Points of Interest Points What is public opinion? What are the sources of public opinion? How does religion play a role in shaping public opinion? How does religion intervene in politics? What is political knowledge and why is it important? How do individuals overcome the political knowledge How issue? issue? What is the difference between hard and easy issues? What is public opinion? What Public opinion is the aggregation of Public people’s views about issues, situations and public figures. situations V. O. Key “those opinions held by private those persons which governments find it prudent to heed” prudent What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Sources of Public Opinion Sources Political Socialization The end result of all the processes by The which individuals form their beliefs and values in their homes, schools, churches, communities, and workplaces. communities, Children vote the same way their parents Children vote. vote. What you are exposed to affects how you What view the world. view What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Examples of Group Differences in Public Opinion in What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues National Breakdown by Gender 60 50 What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge 40 30 20 Hard and Easy issues 10 0 Total Bush Kerry Male Female Gender Gap Gender Men have become increasingly Republican Men since the mid-1960s since Women have continued to identify with the Women Democratic Party at approximately the same rate since the early 1950s rate This reflects attitudinal differences between This men and women about the size of government, gun control, social programs, and gay rights gun N ational Breakdown by Race 100 90 80 What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 White African American Bush Kerry Latino Asian Racial Divide Racial National Breakdown - Type of Community 60 50 What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge 40 30 20 Hard and Easy issues 10 0 Urban Suburban Bush Kerry Rural N ational Breakdown - Decision to go to war in Iraq 100 90 80 What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Strongly Approve Somewhat Approve Bush Somewhat Disapprove Kerry Strongly Dissapprove Texas Vote Breakdown 70 60 What is public opinion? 50 Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues 40 30 20 10 0 Total Bush Kerry Male Female Texas Breakdown-Racial Groups 90 80 70 What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 White African American Bush Kerry Latino Texas Breakdown-Type of Community 90 80 70 What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Urban Suburban Rural Texas Breakdown-Decision to go to War in Iraq 100 90 80 What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Strongly Approve Somewhat Approve Somewhat Disapprove Strongly Dissapprove Regional Differences Regional White southerners were once more White conservative than other regions regarding aid to minorities, legalizing marijuana, school busing, and rights of the accused the Southerners are now significantly less Southerners Democratic than they were for most of the 20th century the How Polling Works How Pollsters need to pose reasonable Pollsters questions that are worded fairly questions They have to ask people about things for They which they have some basis to form an opinion opinion Random Sampling Random Random sampling is necessary to insure Random a reasonably accurate measure of how the entire population thinks or feels the For populations over 500,000, pollsters For need to make about 15,000 phone calls to reach 1,065 respondents, insuring the poll has a sampling error of only +/- 3% poll How Opinions Differ How Opinion saliency: some people care some more about certain issues than other people do people Opinion stability: the steadiness or the volatility of opinion on an issue volatility Opinion-policy congruence: the level of the correspondence between government action and majority sentiment on an issue issue Life Experiences and Public Opinion Opinion What is public opinion? Political socialization is an ongoing Political process and does not necessarily end when a person becomes an adult. adult. Childhood socialization can be Childhood modified or even reversed by adult experiences. experiences. Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues People with Different Life Experiences Hold Different Views About Politics and Government Government What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Education and Political Socialization Socialization Education fosters two important aspects of Education public opinion. public Political efficacy The belief that one can make a difference in politics The by expressing an opinion or action politically. by What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Citizen duty The belief that it is a citizen’s duty to be informed and The to participate in politics. to Education also fosters tolerance towards other Education groups. groups. Higher Education is Associated with Greater Tolerance of Diversity Greater What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Religion as a socializing agent Religion What is public opinion? David C. Leege (1993) “Churches inculcate beliefs and Churches shape worldviews. They provide plausibility structures, i.e. ways of dealing with life’s puzzles and they offer social norms.” offer Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Wald’s causes of religious intervention in politics intervention What is public opinion? Creed Religious traditions may provide Religious guidance for believers about appropriate behavior in secular realms, such as politics. realms, Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Geertz’s discussion of religious creed religious What is public opinion? “Both what a people prizes and Both what it fears and hates are depicted in this worldview, symbolized in its religion, and in turn expresses in the whole quality of life.” of Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Social Culture Social What is public opinion? If a church attracts people who If experience similar conditions of life, whether poverty or affluence, that shared status may lead congregants to develop a common outlook on politics and social issues. social Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Religion as a culture Religion David C. Leege Identity Religion tells us who we are and who I am. What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Norms Religion tells us how we ought to behave. Boundary-maintenance Religion tells us who or what behaviors are Religion not “of us.” not Churches as Political Communities Communities Wald, Owen and Hill What is public opinion? A study of 21 protestant churches in Florida study finds that the theological climate in the churches contributes strongly to the political conservatism of its members. conservatism Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Political Cohesion in Churches Through theology and practices, churches Through can breed cohesion in terms of political attitudes between members. attitudes Hard and Easy issues N ational White Conservative Protestants What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Texas White Conservative Protestants What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Bush Kerry Political Knowledge and the Democratic Process Democratic Delli, Carpini and Keeter What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? “Civic knowledge provides the raw materialReligion and shaping Civic public opinion? that allows citizens to use their virtues, skills and passions in a way that is Political knowledge connected meaningfully to the empirical world.” world.” Hard and Easy issues “Informed opinions, participation, and Informed consent of citizens is by definition the best measure of what is in the public’s interest. And the opportunities provided by citizens to make such informed choices is the best measure of how democratic a system is.” measure Americans Are Not Very Knowledgeable About the Specifics of American Government American What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Higher Education Is Strongly Associated with Greater Knowledge of Politics and Government Politics What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Why are people not politically informed informed Information cost What is public opinion? The time and mental effort required to Sources of public The opinion? absorb and store information, whether from conversations, personal experiences, Religion and shaping public opinion? or the media. or Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues “Many political facts require that Many citizens be reasonably vigilant surveyors of the changing political landscape: party control of Congress changes, elected and appointed officials are replaced, political alliances form and disintegrate, and so forth.” form Cabinet Members Cabinet Secretary State Hillary Rodham Clinton What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Department of Justice Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Overcoming the information hurdle hurdle Lupia and McCubbins Heuristics What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Mental shortcuts that allow individuals to make Religion and shaping Mental public opinion? decisions without a great deal of information. decisions Political knowledge Individuals use cues to help them make Individuals decisions without a great deal of information. information. “Concepts such as reputation, party, or Concepts ideology are useful heuristics only if they convey information about knowledge and trust.” trust.” Hard and Easy issues Ideology Ideology What is public opinion? a more or less consistent set of beliefs Sources of public more opinion? about what policies government ought Religion and shaping public opinion? to pursue to Political knowledge The great majority of Americans do not The Hard and Easy issues think ideologically think People may have strong People predispositions even if they do not satisfy the condition of being “ideological” “ideological” Elites Elites Political elites: those who have a those disproportionate amount of some valued resource, generally knowledge resource, Elites influence public opinion by framing Elites issues and stating norms issues But elite influence only goes so far; they But do not define problems that are rooted in personal experience personal Ordinary People Are Much Less Ideological Than Political Elites Ideological What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Ideology Over Time Ideology Liberals vs. Conservatives Liberals Economic policy Civil rights: Civil Public and political conduct Pure liberals Pure conservatives Libertarians Populists Hard and Easy Issues Hard Carmines and Stimson Hard issues presume that voting is the final result Hard of a sophisticated decision calculus; that is represents a reasoned and thoughtful attempt by voters to use policy preferences to guide their electoral decision. electoral Easy issues are issues that so ingrained over a Easy long period of time it structures voters “gut responses” to candidates and political parties responses” The easy issue would be symbolic rather than The technical technical It would more likely deal with policy ends than It means means It would be an issue long on the political agenda What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Popular Attitudes Toward Abortion Have Been Remarkably Stable Since Roe v. Wade (1973) v. What is public opinion? Sources of public opinion? Religion and shaping public opinion? Political knowledge Hard and Easy issues Summary Summary Public opinion is a very integral piece of the Public democratic process. It allows those in power to understand the wishes and wants of the public. understand However, public opinion does not necessarily However, mean that the public will get what it wants. Due to individual level issues public opinion may not be clear. be The importance of public opinion is not in The providing a clear message, but in the fact the public officials are willing to pay attention to the wants of the public, b/c of electoral connection wants ...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 02/21/2011 for the course GOV 310L taught by Professor Kieth during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online