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poli sci notes - Public Opinion VO Key "Those opinions held...

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Public Opinion VO Key – “Those opinions held by private persons which governments find it prudent to heed” Public opinion has 3 elements o “Persons” Public=aggregation of individuals Generalization v. rule o “Governments” Opinion=pertaining to matters of government o “Prudent to heed” Do we believe this? Why care? Who cares? o Politicians Winning elections Governing effectively o Citizens Elections Government Curiosity o Academics Voting behavior Dimensions of public opinion o Direction o Intensity Gun owners v. everyone else Abortion rights environmentalism o Duration Presidential approval v. support for war v. party identification
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Measuring public opinion o Elections Chief means of democratic control High(ish) levels of participation V. difficulties of interpretation o Polls Randomness – low levels of participation High degree of specificity Interpretation Wide range of questions Subgroups Participation v. expression Measuring intensity Accuracy Faux accuracy v. interpretation Quality of public opinion o Interest o Knowledge o Stability/reality of opinions o Ideology Lack of interest o Survey evidence o Measurement issues Tendency to exaggerate Difficulty of measuring intensity o Observation: low participation/voter turnout Lack of knowledge o How much do people know about politics?
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o Survey evidence o Measurement issues? o Observation: dumbed-down politics Lack of true opinion o “true” v. “false” opinions o Survey evidence o Measurement issues o Observation: wavering polls, non-attitudes? Lack of ideology
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PLSC 111 taught by Professor Krasno during the Fall '07 term at Binghamton.

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poli sci notes - Public Opinion VO Key "Those opinions held...

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