Test 2 Notes

Test 2 Notes - Public Opinion Public Opinion: those...

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Public Opinion Public Opinion : those opinions held by private persons which government find prudent to heed. Importance in Democratic Societies The Policy-Opinion Link Measuring Public Opinion How do we gauge public opinion? o Survey Research How accurate are such measures? o Not bad Considerations Involved with Survey Research Political Knowledge o How many can name governor of state – 75% o How many know the president is limited to two terms in office – 68% o How many know each state is apportioned two senators – 52% o How many can name both senators from state – 25% Opinion Instability Question Wording Effects – even in unbiased question, changing just a couple words can result in different answers Non-Random Sample – not covering an even distribution of citizens relative to population; focusing survey on one group and receiving only that groups opinion. Sampling Error Salience – importance to the public of various issues is based on media coverage “Halo-Effect” - Lie on survey The Origins of Public Opinion Like the vote, public opinion has its political effect as an aggregate phenomenon, but, also like the vote, it is no more than the sum of individual parts. To understand it, we need to understand the basis of individual opinions. Ideologies Where do the individual opinions that collectively constitute public opinion come from? o Opinions reflect underlying sets of attitudes that coalesce into ideologies Definition: a consistent and integrated system of ideas, values, and beliefs Modern American Ideologies o Conservatism o Liberalism o Most Americans do not label themselves ideologically, preferring terms like “moderate” or “middle of the road.” Ideologies and the Role of Government Economic Sphere Social Libertarians Liberals Sphere Conservatives Populists Political Socialization
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Definition Socialization Agents: o Family o School (primarily K-12) o Church o Age Generational Effects Life-Cycle Effects Issue Framing Public Ambivalence/Ignorance Question Wording o lead to Issue Instability The Context frames the Question o Issue Salience Framing determines which attitudes govern the response Is Public Opinion Meaningful? Political Ignorance (Political Knowledge Levels) Inconsistent Views Manipulation Public Opinion is meaningful in the aggregate, if not always at the individual level. Aggregate-Level Public Opinion Stability Coherence When substantial changes occur, they reflect intelligible historical trends or responses to changed conditions. Short Term Variation o Presidential Approval How can stable and coherent public opinion arise from unstable and incoherent individual opinions? The average remains the same if circumstances remain the same
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Test 2 Notes - Public Opinion Public Opinion: those...

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