AP United States Government & Politics Political Socialization, Public Opinion and Participation.

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


<ul><li><p>AP United States Government &amp; PoliticsPolitical Socialization, Public Opinion and Participation</p></li><li><p>Public opinion can be described as those attitudes held by a significant number of people on matters of government and politics.</p><p>Different Publics: the United States is made up of many groups of people who share a common news.</p><p>Public Affairs: Public affairs are those events and issues that concern the public at large.Public opinion includes only those views that relate to public affairs.</p><p>Public OpinionsA view or position must be expressed in the open in order to be a public opinion. Best way to learn about political issues is to explore a wide variety of sources containing political information.What is Public Opinion?</p></li><li><p>People who have similar opinions on political issues are generally grouped according to whether they are left, right, or center on the political spectrum.Understanding the Political Spectrum</p></li><li><p> #1 - The FamilyChildren first see the political world from within the family and through the familys eyes.The strong influence the family is due to the large amount of time spent with family members.Children acquire some of the basic viewpoints that will most likely affect their future opinions.The SchoolsStudents are taught about political systems, patriotism, and great Americans. History and Government courses.Many factors influence our political opinions and political socialization over the course of a lifetime.Sources of Political Socialization</p></li><li><p>Mass MediaCan reach large masses of people at once. The mass media has a huge effect on the formation of public opinion (focus the publics attention on specific issues).Peer GroupsPeer groups are made up of the people with whom one regularly associates, including friends, classmates, neighbors, and co-workers.Gender GroupsMen have become increasingly Republican since the mid-1960s. During that time the voting behavior of women changed very little. Biggest differences include size of government, gun control, spending programs, and gay rights.EducationCollege students are more liberal than general population. As eduction level increases, political ideology tends to shift more to the left.Other Factors Contributing to Political Socialization</p></li><li><p>Social ClassPlays more of a role in Europe; unskilled workers are more likely to vote Democrat and have liberal views on economic policy. Class is playing a diminishing role because of the increasing importance of non-economic factors (race relations, abortion, school prayer, etc.)Race and EthnicityAfrican Americans more likely to vote Democrat (seems to be weakening a little). Latinos identify themselves as Democrat. Asian Americans and Cuban Americans tend to be more Republican.RegionNorthern and Southern Voters. South has identified with business and enterprise while the North has linked itself with labor unions. South, West (Rocky Mountain region), and Midwest continue to be Conservative. Northeast and West Coast continue to be Liberal.Cleavages in Public Opinion</p></li><li><p>IdeologyMore likely to exercise either a purely liberal or purely conservative ideology.More a person is an activist, the more likely it is that he or she will show ideological consistency and take a position more extreme in its liberalism or conservatism.Elites vs. Average CitizenSee things in different ways; elites more importantPolitical elite has more access to the media; creates power to raise and frame political issues.Do not have total power; cannot hide issues from the public.Political Elite and Public Opinion</p></li><li><p>Straw VotesA straw vote is a method of polling that seeks to read the publics mind simply by asking the same question of a large number of people.The straw-vote technique is highly unreliable, however.Public opinion is best measured by public opinion polls, devices that attempt to collect information by asking people questions.Scientific PollingSerious efforts to take the publics pulse on a scientific basis date from the 1930sThere are now more than 1,000 national and regional polling organizations in this country, with at least 200 of these polling political preferences.Polling: Understanding the Pulse</p></li><li><p>Defining the UniverseThe universe is a term that means the whole population that the poll aims to measure. Constructing a SampleA sample is a representative slice of the total universe. Most professional pollsters draw a random sample, also called a probability sample (asking every x-numbered person).Preparing Valid QuestionsThe way in which questions are worded is very important. Wording can affect the reliability of any poll.InterviewingPollsters communicate with the sample respondents using various methods including person-to-person interviews, telephone calls, and mail surveys.ReportingPollsters use computers to store and manipulate data, which helps them analyze and report the results of the poll.Scientific Polling Process</p></li><li><p>Six Levels of Voter Participation:Inactive: 1/5 of population does not participate. They do not vote, and probably dont like to even talk about politics. Typically have little education and income. Voting Specialists: People who vote but do not participate in any other substantial way. They tend to have little schooling and tend to be older than the average citizen.Campaigners: Vote and enjoy getting involved in campaigns. They are generally better educated; they tend to engage in the conflicts, passions, and struggles of politics; have strong identification with a particular party and have strong positions on issues.Communalists: They have social backgrounds similar to campaigners but are far more nonpartisan. They devote their time and energy to community activities and local problems.Parochials: They stay away from elections but often contact local politicians about specific, often personal problems.Activists: makes up about 1/9 of population; highly educated; have high incomes; tend to be middle-aged; participate in all forms of politics.Participation: Voter Turnout</p></li><li><p>College graduates are more likely to vote than those with less education.Older people tend to vote and participate more than younger people.Regular churchgoers tend to participate more than non-churchgoers.Minorities vote less than whites (socioeconomic status is equalizer).Political elites and those with high levels of external efficacy are the group most likely to vote.May be voting less, but participating more in campaigns, contacting government officials, and working on community issues.Conventional: widely accepted modes of influencing government such as voting, trying to persuade others, petitioning, giving money to campaigns, and even running for office.Unconventional: more dramatic activities like protesting, civil disobedience, violence. The medias frequent attention to protest can make it a successful kickoff of an effort to change policy (Civil Rights Movement).Trends in Voting Participation</p></li><li><p>Adapted from Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Scholzman, Henry Brady, and Norman H. Nie, Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995). Electoral/Non-electoral Political Participation Among Anglo Whites, African Americans, and Latinos</p></li><li><p>Participation by Education and Age</p></li><li><p>Americans vote at lower rates than do people abroad; due to federalism - so many national, state, and local offices.Europe - vote for one member of a parliament once every four or five years.Voter turnout rates in the United States when compared to those in other democracies, should probably be considered less an embarrassment and more of a matter of very different voting systems.Voting in America vs. Elsewhere</p></li><li><p>Participation in Presidential vs. Congressional Elections</p></li></ul>


View more >