notes - PublicOpinion/16/094:57PM...

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Public Opinion 3/16/09 3/16/09 4:57 PM Definition: Attitudes, preferences, opinions of the mass public  great diversity summarized in a few numbers Public Attitudes shared values – liberty, equality, right to property, democracy shared goals – economic growth, low crime, smart kids, lots of jobs conflicting goals – redistribution, more powerful U.S., more to consume conflicts over means – more or less prisons, market or gov for health care trust – has declines recently efficacy – do we people have a say in gov action Evaluation – how are our leaders doing Salience How important are issues? Hard to measure Can fluctuate a lot, can be manipulated (elite political leaders emerge from meeting  and make pronouncements. Ex: anti terrorism) Political Knowledge Lots of ignorance
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But lots of intelligence In aggregate, can respond well to good information Ideologies – changing concepts Left vs Right Liberal vs. Conservative Social vs Economic Left – France, guilds, tradesmen Right – church, monarchy LEFT WING                                                         RIGHT WING Correlations by groups Urban – more liberal African American – liberal on economic, conservative on social Poor – liberal on economic, conservative on social Suburban – more conservative Jewish – more liberal
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Mormon – more conservative California – more pro-environment, pro-choice Women – not different than men, with some exceptions (see tables in ch. 9) Survey Research Great advancements Predict elections quite well Polling depends greatly on word choice, repetition 2008 election Gallup, Nov. 2 likely voters (53% to 42% some were unsure) Actual election results (53% to 46%) Obama to McCain DISCUSSION Main streams of political socialization family and the way parents raised you SES-parent education Mass media socioeconomic status (education, geography, gender, race, religion, age) suburbs: conservative, middle-class, college education, better health care, more gun  control – personal safety
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urban: liberal, more diverse, lower schools, more poor people rural: homogeneous, conservative (disconnected from gov), limited education choices,  more poor people than in urban conservatives: want small gov, maintain status quo, more regulation of social issues,  less regulation of economy, anti-federalists 3/18/09 Ignorant Americans know little factual knowledge about politics & other parts of the world 2/3 cannot name a Supreme Court justice 1/3 cannot name the vice president
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