Political Science 1101 Public Opinion Notes

Political Science 1101 Public Opinion Notes - Public...

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Public Opinion What is Public Opinion? - Public Opinion : Those opinions held by private persons which governments find it prudent to heed. Hood: whether or not the government heeds public opinion it is still important to acknowledge and pay attention to. - There is some connection and important in democratic societies - The Policy-Opinion Linkage o At some level we expect policy to represent opinion Measuring Public Opinion - How do we gauge public opinion? o Survey research (polls) o Tracking polls are polls in which candidates work with polls in election campaigns to determine who is ahead and who is behind, and can be very accurate but aren’t guaranteed to be. o Polls try to elicit opinions on political matters. o Some polls are conducted by campaigns or media and others are conducted by academics. o Consumer polls tend to be more biased than academic ones. - How accurate are such measures? o Accurate as long as not outside a certain margin of error o Number of questions used to determine who actually intends to vote, and whether or not they are honest about whom they intend to vote for. o Make for a fairly accurate gauge, with explanations for major shifts. Considerations Involved with Survey Research - Political knowledge o Americans have a notoriously low political knowledge - Opinion instability o meaning that asking the same person the same question at different points in time, they may give contradictory answers. This can be largely due to a lack of knowledge and reliance on heuristics and symbols. - Question Wording Effects o attempt to make questions as neutral as possible to eliminate any bias or influence. Repetitive polling questions should always be worded exactly the same to ensure that a change in response is not due to a change in the question. - Non-Random Sample o Goal is to have same demographic characteristics on a smaller scale as the population. Random samples are often chosen through computerized lists. (1936-FDR would lose
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course POLS 1101 taught by Professor Cann during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Political Science 1101 Public Opinion Notes - Public...

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