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Final Exam Lecture Notes

Final Exam Lecture Notes - Final Exam Lecture Notes...

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Final Exam Lecture Notes Wednesday, April 15, 2009 I. Ideologies a. Elaborately organized sets of political attitudes often take the form of political ideologies b. Ideologies work to promote consistency by connecting attitudes to something greater, a more general principle or set of principles c. The ideological labels commonly used in American politics are liberal and conservative II. Ideologies: Liberals a. Today, liberals typically favor using government to: i. Reduce economic inequalities ii. Champion the rights of the disadvantages iii. Tolerate a more diverse range of social behaviors b. They also believe the rich should be taxed at higher rates to finance social welfare programs III. Ideologies: Conservatives a. Distrust government i. Have greater faith in private enterprise and free markets b. But they are willing to use government to enforce traditional moral standards c. They favor a larger military and a more assertive pursuit of national self-interest d. Conservatives advocate lower taxes, particularly on investment income, to stimulate growth and to restrict the government’s capacity to finance social welfare programs IV. Partisanship a. A large majority of Americans identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans b. Party Identification i. Psychological phenomenon ii. Practical aspects 1. Shorthand cue for some voters, but personal identity for others iii. Affects beliefs as well as opinions V. Acquiring Opinions a. Attitudes derive from experience b. Most often the experience is indirect, interpreted, and passed along by families, schools, friends, opinion leaders, and the mass media through the process of political socialization
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c. This process is most influential during childhood and young adulthood, but new experiences can alter attitudes at any stage of life d. People adopt values and beliefs that pay off in some way: i. In conforming their identity with a group ii. In pleasing people that are important to them iii. In making the world comprehensible iv. Through validating material or psychological aspirations VI. Information a. Most Americans, most of the time, pay little attention to politics because they have little practical reason to do so i. For this reason, people’s opinions on issues often appear to be both uninformed and unstable b. While many know the basics, more detailed policy questions and lower-level political figures go unnoticed c. The role of free information is important. The more visible the issue, politician, or event, the greater public awareness will be VII. Is Public Opinion Meaningful? a. If large segments of the public: i. Are politically ignorant ii. Hold inconsistent views, and iii. Can be manipulated by varying the words or context of questions b. How can public opinion play its assigned role in democratic politics?
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Final Exam Lecture Notes - Final Exam Lecture Notes...

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