Final Exam

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public opinion Citizens’ attitudes about political issues, leaders, institutions, and events
The meaning of individual political opinions depends on three factors: 1) the individual’s underlying preferences ( what he or she wants);
( 2) his or her beliefs about the current circumstances and the consequences of different courses of action; and
( 3) the choices presented.
Forms of opinion 1) Evaluations of those in government and other institutions
2) Assessments of public policies
3) Assessments of current circumstances
4) political orientations
Origins of public opinion 1) self interest
- government policies affecting economics
- government regulations affecting economics
- government acts as a form of insurance
- government is involved in the labor market
- law affecting families
2) Values
- establish social norms
- give us an idea of right and wrong
3) Identities
- political party
4) social
- information
- education
- context
- social pressure*
3 things Americans can agree on ( 1) the democracy principle ( that majority rule is a good decision rule);
( 2) the importance of equal opportunity; and
( 3) the idea that that government is best which governs least.
Political Socialization The induction of individuals into the political culture; the process of learning the underlying beliefs and values on which the political system is based
Agents of socialization The social institutions, including families and schools, that help shape individuals’ basic political beliefs and values
- family
-social groups, voluntary and involuntary
-political conditions
Gender Gap A distinctive pattern of voting behavior reflecting the differences in views between women and men
Liberal A liberal today generally supports political and social reform; extensive government intervention in the economy; the expansion of federal social services; more vigorous efforts on behalf of the poor, minorities, and women; and greater concern for consumers and the environment
Conservative Today this term refers to those who generally support the social and economic status quo and are suspicious of efforts to introduce new political formulas and economic arrangements. Many conservatives also believe that a large and powerful government poses a threat to citizens’ freedoms
Active learning when people search for a particular type of program or a particular type of information.
Passive learning Many entertainment programs discuss current affairs and issues, such as social issues or an election. When that occurs, learning takes a passive form. You watch the program for entertainment but gain information about politics
agenda-setting effect The power to bring attention to particular issues and problems

The referendum, initiative, and recall all entail shifts in agenda- setting power.
Priming A process of preparing the public to take a particular view of an event or a political actor
Framing The power of the media to influence how events and issues are interpreted
Public opinion polls The scientific instrument for measuring public opinion
Sample A small group selected by researchers to represent the most important characteristics of an entire population
Probability Sampling A method used by pollsters to select a representative sample in which every individual in the population has an equal probability of being selected as a respondent
Random digit dialing A poll in which respondents are selected at random from a list of 10- digit telephone numbers, with every effort made to avoid bias in the construction of the sample
Selection bias A polling error in which the sample is not representative of the population being studied, so that some opinions are over- or underrepresented
Sampling error A polling error that arises on account of the small size of the sample
Measurement error The failure to identify the true distribution of opinion within a population because of errors such as ambiguous or poorly worded questions
push polling A polling technique in which the questions are designed to shape the respondent’s opinion
Salient interests An attitude or view that is especially important to the individual holding it
illusion of salience The impression conveyed by polls that something is important to the public when it actually is not
bandwagon effect A shift in electoral support to the candidate whom public- opinion polls report as the front- runner
Several factors can contribute to a lack of consistency between opinion and government policy. First, the nominal majority on a particular issue may not be as intensely committed to its preference as the adherents of the minority view-point.

the American governmental process includes arrangements such as an appointed judiciary that can produce policy decisions that may run contrary to prevailing popular sentiment— at least for a time.

the ballot initiative. This procedure allows propositions to be placed on the ballot and voted into law by the electorate, bypassing most of the normal machinery of representative government.
Adverse Selection The problem of incomplete information— of choosing alternatives without fully knowing the details of available options
moral hazard The problem of not knowing all aspects of the actions taken by an agent ( nominally on behalf of the principal but potentially at the principal’s expense)
Four features of U. S. election laws • First, who. The United States provides for universal adult suffrage— all citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote. 3

• Second, how. Americans vote in secret and choose among candidates for particular of ce using a form of the ballot called the “ Australian ballot.”

• Third, where. The United States selects almost all elected of ces through single- member districts that have equal populations— one person, one vote.

• Fourth, what it takes to win. For most of ces in the United States, the candidate who wins the most votes among all of those competing for a given seat wins the election.
duty of individual voters to secure their own eligibility = burden for potential voters First, during a personal appearance before the registrar, individuals seeking to vote were ( and are) required to furnish proof of identity, residence, and citizenship.

Second, voters were usually required to register well before the next elec-tion, in some states up to several months earlier.

Third, because most personal registration laws required a periodic purge of the election rolls, ostensibly to keep them up- to- date, voters often had to re- register to maintain their eligi-bility. Thus, although personal registration requirements helped diminish the widespread electoral corruption that accompanied a completely open voting process, they also made it much more dif cult for citizens to participate in the electoral process.
Australian Ballot An electoral format that presents the names of all the candidates for any given office on the same ballot. Introduced at the end of the eighteenth century, the Australian ballot replaced the partisan ballot and facilitated split- ticket voting
Single-member district An electorate that is allowed to elect only one representative from each district— the typical method of representation in the United States
Electoral college The presidential electors from each state who meet in their respective state capitals after the popular election to cast ballots for president and vice president
Magnifying effect
Electoral districts have a particularly important political consequence: the use of districts tends to magnify the power of the majority.
gerrymandering The apportionment of voters in districts in such a way as to give unfair advantage to one political party

Politicians can use gerrymandering to dilute the strength not only of a party but also of a group.
Plurality Rule A type of electoral system in which victory goes to the individual who gets the most votes in an election, but not necessarily a majority of the votes cast
Majority rule A type of electoral system in which, to win a seat in a representative body, a candidate must receive a majority ( 50 percent plus 1) of all the votes cast in the relevant district
proportional representation (PR) A multiple- member-district system that allows each political party representation in proportion to its percentage of the vote
Duverger's law Law of politics, formalized by Maurice Duverger, stating that plurality- rule electoral systems will tend to have two political parties
referendum A measure propossed or passed by a legislature that is referred to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection
Initiative A process by which citizens may petition to place a policy proposal on the ballot for public vote
Recall The removal of a public official by popular vote
Why people don't vote - education
- reflect electoral institutions
Why people don't vote - education
- reflect electoral institutions
Why people don't vote - education
- reflect electoral institutions
Party identification An individual’s attachment to a particular political party, which might be based on issues or ideology, past experience, or upbringing
Issue Voting An individual’s propensity to select candidates or parties based on the extent to which the individual agrees with one candidate more than others on specifi c issues
Prospective Voting Voting based on the imagined future performance of a candidate
Retrospective Voting Voting based on the past performance of a candidate
Spatial Issues An issue for which a range of possible options or policies can be ordered, say, from liberal to conservative or from most expensive to least expensive
Median-voter Theorem A proposition predicting that when policy options can be arrayed along a single dimension, majority rule will pick the policy most preferred by the voter whose ideal policy is to the left of half of the voters and to the right of exactly half of the voters. See Chapter 6 for further discussion
Valence Issue An issue or aspect of a choice for which all voters prefer a higher value, in contrast to a spatial issue. For example, voters prefer their politicians to be honest, and honesty is a valence issue
Political Action Committee (PAC) A private group that raises and distributes funds for use in election campaigns
Political Party An organized group that attempts to influence government by electing its members to office
Political parties organize because of three problems with which politicians and other political activists must cope. - collective action
- collective choice of policy
- ambition
Nomination The process by which political parties select their candidates for election to public office
Nomination by Convention a formal caucus bound by a number of rules that govern participation and nominating procedures.
Nomination by primary election In primary elections, party members select the party’s nominees directly rather than selecting convention delegates who then select the nominees.
closed primary A primary election in which voters can participate in the nomination of only those candidates of the party in which they have been enrolled for a period of time before primary day
Open primary A primary election in which voters can choose on the day of the primary which party to enroll in to select candidates for the general election
majority party The party that holds the majority of legislative seats in either the House or the Senate
party identification An individual voter’s psychological ties to one party or another
party activist A partisan who contributes time, energy, and effort to support a party and its candidates
Group affiliations ace and ethnicity
political caucus A normally closed meeting of a political or legislative group to select candidates, plan strategy, or make decisions regarding legislative matters
Interest group An organized group of individuals or organizations that makes policy- related appeals to government
Core of the Analysis: Public Opinion There are a wide range of interests at stake in any question that the government must decide, as well as differing preferences, beliefs, and opinions about what ought to be done.

Public opinion is the aggregation of individuals’ views. It expresses the range of attitudes and beliefs and on which side of any question a majority of people fall.

oliticians follow public opinion as part of the representative process. They take signals from polls and other indicators of public sentiment to gauge whether a particular decision might affect their prospects at the next election.

Politicians, interest groups, the media, and others try to shape public opinion by influencing what issues are debated, what alternatives are offered, and what information is presented.
Core of the Analysis: Elections The United States holds frequent elections as a means of keeping politicians close to the preferences of a majority of the people.

The United States uses a system of plurality rule in which the candidate with the most votes wins the electoral district. Plurality rule creates a strong pressure toward two- party politics and makes it difficult for third parties to succeed.

Plurality rule also shapes the incentives facing candidates and parties. It creates strong pressure on the parties or candidates to take more centrist policies so as to appeal to the median voter among the electorate as a whole.

Most voters develop strong attachments to political parties, based on agreement on policy, social pressure, or upbringing. Those who identify with a party vote with that party nearly all of the time.

Campaigns try to mobilize their candidate’s supporters and persuade undecided voters. In the process, they provide information that helps solve some of the informational problems inherent in representative democracy.
Core of the Analysis: Political Parties
Political parties are teams of politicians, activists, and interest groups organized to win control of government.

The United States has a two- party system, in which Democrats and Republicans compete for most offices. This two- party system is a consequence of the form of government ( presidential-congressional as opposed to parliamentary) and election laws, especially the use of single- member legislative districts.
Parties offer distinctive views about how government ought to operate and what laws ought to be enacted and policies implemented, and they often serve distinct interests and communities.

Parties help solve an important informational problem for voters. By offering distinctive “ brands,” the parties simplify the choices that voters must make and reduce the costs of gathering information about how to vote.

The legislative and executive branches of the U. S. government are organized by the parties, with the party that won a majority of seats controlling most of the key positions and levers of power, especially congressional committees, the congressional agenda, and the appointment of agency heads.
Core of the Analysis: Groups and Interests Individuals, firms, and other organizations engage in a wide variety of political activities, including contacting elected officials, attending government meetings, engaging in campaign activities, and contributing money in order to shape how those in office make and implement laws.

These activities help government solve an important problem— the problem of how to learn about what problems are important to society and how government actions might affect the society.

There is a clear orientation of interest groups toward those segments of society with better education or more economic resources, and those most directly affected by government actions, especially corporations.

Collective organization of interests is difficult, as there are strong incentives for any single individual to free ride. As a result, interests in society, especially very broad interests such as “ all consumers” or “ the middle class,” often lack effective organizations that can express their preferences.
Pluralism The theory that all interests are and should be free to compete for influence in the government. The outcome of this competition is compromise and moderation
key components shared by interest groups First, most groups must attract and keep members.

Second, every group must build a nancial structure capable of sustaining an organization and funding the group’s activities.

Finally, most groups include an agency that actually carries out the group’s tasks.
informational benefits special newsletters, periodicals, training programs, conferences, and other information provided to members of groups to entice others to join
material benefits Special goods, services, or money provided to members of groups to entice others to join
solidary benefits Selective benefi ts of group membership that emphasize friendship, networking, and consciousness- raising
purposive benefits Selective benefi ts of group membership that emphasize the purpose and accomplishments of the group
lobbying An attempt by a group to influence the policy process through persuasion of government officials
going public The act of launching a media campaign to build popular support
Public mood general feeling (both resource and restraint) among public
3 things about public opinion 1) serves as a politial resource in support of some policy goals and in oppositon to others
2) important when it comes to reelection of officials (not public opinion effect, but constituents' opinion)
3) the court has no mechanism to implement public policy; effects how non-elected officials carry out policies
effects on how non-elected officials carry out policies 1) wide range of interests at stake

2) take wide range and treat it as a single belief (aggregate)

3) serves as a constraint and resource

4) dynamic - depends on who shapes the opinion
information asymmetry no opinion because they dont know
ascriptive americanism rights assigned by demographics
Time-clock discipline be somewhere at a certain time and do something there
more education = more altruism
political knowledge - public opinion is important because of its connection to political knowledge

- people are politically unsophisticated

- involves a variation of a principal-agent theory - knowledge that people need to make rational choices

- people try to manipulate our attitudes, beliefs and interests to get us to vote a certain way
3 mechanisms for shaping public opinion 1) government - constantly trying to convince voters that government is doing a good job
- competing institutions/political parties
- multiple government venues to influence public opinion

2) Groups - goal-seeking entities; like-minded individuals band together with similar interests
- show benefits to public; engage in issue management
- framing
- thinktanks: collective of individuals with certain expertise; neutral instruments for pursuing information knowledge; take over political ID with time
- public interest groups (left): common cause; no organized interest, just good of the nation; made possible by government
- entrepreneur: indidviduals interested in shaping public opinion to shape a particular viewpoint or set of goals; use media to set agenda

3) media - serves as a conduit through which information flows; used to bring attention to an issue
- tied to particular interest and parties
- active and passive learning
- agenda setting, priming, framing
- involves the creation of causal stories: when media frames issues, they try to get at what led to the event (actions: unguided and purposeful)
Types of Causal Theory Actions: intended/ Unintended

Consequences: unguided - mechanical cause (intended)/ accidental cause (unintended)
purposeful - intentional cause (intended)/ inadvertent (unintended)
corporate PACs associate with particular enterprises, focuses on encumbents of their cause (bipartisan)
mixed PAC (labor) target powerful democrats - 1st encumbants, but most democratic
- provide foot soldiers, donate $
nonconnected PAC no business or labor, not connected to economy/"ideologic PAC"
- interest groups supporting certain causes
- look for ideological soulmates
- provide foot soldiers for campsigns of people who agree with their cause
527 Committees created by tax code; raise money independent of any party or candidate; no limit on $ spent - #1 reason so much $ is spent on campaigns
501 C4s committees associated w/ nonprofits; also can raise independent funds
- can only spend 50% of budget on political goals
- don't have to reveal donors names
- biggest source of $ in a campaign
individual personal wealth no limit on spending
independent expenditures no limits on $ spent independent of campaigns - create a mood that directs people toward a candidate, "issue advocacy"
Public Funding (not for congressional campaign) can raise $5000 in donations of @250 or less in 20 states - if you can do that, you qualify for matching funds
- limit of $90 million on campaign then only use public
Elections... - are important for socialzing political conflict/safety value
- bolster gov. power and authority
- allow us to institutionalize political influence
Interest groups support gov in 3 ways: 1) link between voters and elected officials
2) means of overcoming existing fragmentation in gov
3) partisans, reflect idea, interests, giving voters a choice between visions
functions of parties - recruit and nominate candidates for public office
- getting out the vote
- facilitate mass electoral choice
- influence/organize national gov. policy
4 assumptions of how a responsible party should function 1) present coherent agenda derived from core beliefs
2)members of that party stick to the agenda
3) voters cast votes based upon that platform (act rationally)
4) if members violate their platform, they are punished by party vote
Hill Committee focus on 6 features - polling
-media campaigns
- direct mail campaigns
- new media (web)
watch list - 3 criteria - protect incumbents (don't lose current seats)
- look for open seats (no incumbent)
- vulnerable candidates from the other party
coat tail effect strong president backs a vulnerable incumbent
factions group of citizens united for a cause in a zero sum game - needs only met if others' needs are denied
assumptions about government - policy-making = gov. response to group pressure
- all groups treated equal, numbers matter
- decisions made after considering all groups
It is impossible to get people to form large groups for 3 reasons (Mancor Olson): - no group identity - anonymity of #s
- hard to tell what an individual is contributing (free-riding)
- hard to police membership/get members to cooperate

- groups can create public benefits that won't be denied to anyone, not even members
- free riding - tie public benefits to selective benefits; make sure ou have something that only group members can have to guarantee membership & get people to work
entrepreneur 1) peope who discover unfulfilled needs
2) people who package those ideas/goals and take the risk in pursuing them
3) able to create a group or coalition who support their vision
what explains proliferation of groups? -social ferment
-increasing affluence
-government sponsorship
social ferment groups beget groups
increasing affluence more $ = more interest
lobbying 3 functions: 1) information to agencies and officials
2) involves construction of coalitions
3) legislation/amendment suggestions
venue shopping find a bureau or congress; someone to promote your interest
reg-neg rulemaking regulatory negotioation of rules by bureaucracies/they regulate interest group negotiation
**things that affect lobbying - businesses can't deduct lobbying expenses
- trade associations report % of income going to lobbying
- lobbyists have to register with gov.
- limits on gifts that lobbyists can provide to officials
- revolving door
outsider strategies (indirect lobbying) - grassroots
- framing
- litigation
- PACs
Madison's 3 solutions (-) removing cause of factions by policing and suppressing opinions
(+) control effects of factions

1) minority faction - no majority rules
2)majority factions - motivational solution breaks power of majority
3) size o interest groups - prevent majority

* interest groups = solution and problem gridlock