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PSY 101 notes - 8244 Public Opinion The preferences...

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8244 Public Opinion: The preferences expressed by people on issues, polices and individuals. Must be expressed (not latent) in order to let it has value, have to be expressed An attitude is not actual behavior that why you can over use public opinion Not necessarily Stable, intense or salient (t Helps individuals organize and make sense of the world SCHEMA THEORY A cognitive structure of “organized prior knowledge abstracted from experience with specific instances.” This guides “the processing of new information and the retrieval of stored information” (Conover, 1984) Self- Schemas generally abstract individuals to particular groups Individuals basically become members of a group with shared experience (salient distinctions) Leads to “political awareness, or ideology, regarding the group's relative position in society, and a commitment to collective action aimed at realizing the group's interests.” Factors Influencing Likelihood of Voting (Likely to the vote) Age, income, education strong party identification group membership perceived closeness of the election salience of the election (well known candidates, issues, perceived importance) Turnout Trends Decline in turnout since 1950's with occasional spikes Low compared to other democracies Americans do get more involved at higher levels of participation, though (run for office, work for campaigns) Political Parties A group of individuals with some ideological agreement who organize to win elections, run government and make public policy. Group power parties attempt to create broad coalitions (links to Are a key to understanding how government is organized ROLES OF PARTIES IN AMERICAN POLITICS 1. Provide/recruit candidates 2. conduct elections 3. educate the public 4. organize government (founding fathers did not like parties) 5. make public policy 6. provide loyal opposition 7. provide a “cue” for voters (label)
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Transitional model, party label is best predictor of vote. CHARACTERISTICS OF AMERICAN PARTIES Two Parties Fairly stable coalitions third parties rare win and face structural barriers single member districts, plurality vote winners (this two together makes hard for the third party to win) republic (the party of Lin ken) HIGHLY Decentralized Linked to emphasis on state elections parties have different “meanings” in different states “National” Party a collection of “state parts” Semi-public, Open Organizations No formal test for entry Laws (state) often limit party attempts to discipline members Loose Coalitions, Fairly Non-ideological Party organization (Text) National Committee---- National Chairman State Central committee --- state chairman district committees County committee ---- county chairman ward and city committees precinct caucus -------- committee man & woman test: smallest geographic unit use for voting. – every county divide by princens(?) PARTY REGULATIONS Founding Fathers generally distrusted parties and did not include them in the constitution
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