Chapter 5 - Chapter 5: public opinion What is Public...

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Chapter 5: public opinion What is Public Opinion? Citizens’ views on politics and government actions. What government should be doing Evaluations of what government is doing Judgments about elected officials and others who participate in the political process, as well as the wider set of beliefs that shape these opinions Matters for 3 reasons: Citizens’ political actions—voting, contributing to campaigns, writing letters to senators, etc.—are driven by their opinions. Explain the behavior of candidates, political parties, and other political actors. Public opinion plays a key role in understanding what motivates both citizens and political officials Shed light on the reasons for specific policy outcomes o Changes in the policy mood—public’s demand for new policies—are linked to changes in government spending. The Political Science of Public Opinion Americans had low levels of factual information Such as Knowing which party held majorities in the House and Senate Level of conceptualization: the amount of complexity in an individual’s beliefs about government and policy, and the extent to which those beliefs are consistent with each other and remain consistent over time. The New Theory of Public Opinion Three arguments forced change: No surprise to find that people have trouble talking about politics. Timing of the early public opinion studies of the 1950s In order to accurately capture public opinion, scholars needed to expand their picture of what it might look like. Describing Public Opinion Theories distinguish between two types: o Broad expressions such as how a person thinks about politics, what a citizen wants from government, or principles that apply across a range of issues. Liberal-conservative ideology: a way of describing political beliefs in terms of a position on the spectrum running from liberal to moderate to conservative. o
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This document was uploaded on 10/26/2011 for the course POLS 1301 at Texas Tech.

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Chapter 5 - Chapter 5: public opinion What is Public...

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