Chapter 6 - Study Guide

Chapter 6 - Study Guide - POLS 101I American National...

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POLS 101I – American National Government Hagan Chapter Six Public Opinion and Political Socialization: Shaping the People’s Voice Learning Objectives Having read the chapter, the students should be able to do each of the following: 4736. List some of the major factors influencing the formation of public opinion and identify the factors which tend to have the strongest and more permanent influence. 4737. Describe the different methods used to measure public opinion and discuss why some are more accurate than others. 4738. Describe the frames of reference, particularly ideological classifications and group characteristics, which help to explain how Americans think politically. 4739. Assess the degree to which American policymakers are responsive to public opinion, and comment on how this question relates to the issue of representation in American politics. 4740. Describe how partisan thinking influences opinions about issues and candidates. Focus and Main Points The focus of this chapter is on public opinion and its influences on the American political system. A major theme is that public opinion is a powerful yet inexact force in American politics. The author explores the nature of public opinion and discusses the process and agents of political socialization. He also analyzes how Americans think politically. Primary ideas include the following: Public opinion consists of those ideas held by ordinary citizens which government officials take into account in making public policy. Public officials have many means of gauging public opinion, such as elections and mass demonstrations, but have increasingly relied upon public opinion polls. The process by which individuals acquire their political opinions is called political socialization. This process begins during childhood via family and school, where Americans obtain many of their basic political values and beliefs. Socialization continues into adulthood, during which peers, political leaders, events, and the news media are major influences. Political opinions are shaped by several frames of reference. Some of the most important are ideology, group attachments, political culture, and partisanship. These frames of reference are the basis for political consensus and conflict in the general public. Public opinion has an important influence on decision makers but ordinarily does not directly
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This note was uploaded on 10/10/2011 for the course POLS 101 taught by Professor Hamilton,t during the Summer '08 term at College of Southern Idaho.

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Chapter 6 - Study Guide - POLS 101I American National...

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