Public Opinion and Political Behaviors

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Public Opinion and Political Behaviors. Unit IIC Voting, Campaigns, and Elections. Political Efficacy. Voting in elections Learning and understanding political knowledge Having political discussions Attending political meetings Forming interest groups Contacting public officials - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Public Opinion and Political BehaviorsUnit IICVoting, Campaigns, and Elections

  • Political EfficacyVoting in electionsLearning and understanding political knowledgeHaving political discussionsAttending political meetingsForming interest groupsContacting public officialsCampaigning for a candidate, political party, ballot issueFinancial contributionsRunning for officeProtesting public policies and/or officials

  • Voting - The Democratic ProcessVoting exemplifies a government by the peopleThe American electorate determine policy and policymakersSuffrage is the right to vote - regulated by the statesVote in local, state, and national elections

  • Voter RequirementsAn American citizen of 18 years or older may voteStates determine registration requirements and qualificationsState residency requirement of usually 30 daysPrisonersMotor-Voter Law (National Voter Registration Act of 1993)Register to vote when applying/renewing drivers licenseRegister by mail

  • Expansion of SuffrageReligious and property qualifications eliminated by 180015th Amendment (1870)Guaranteed blacks the right to vote19th Amendment (1920)Guaranteed women the right to vote23rd Amendment (1961)Guaranteed right to vote for D.C.24th Amendment (1964)Prohibited poll taxesHarper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966)*Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Acts of 1965 Eliminated voting restrictions for blacksGrandfather clauses, white primaries, literacy tests26th Amendment (1971)Guaranteed right to vote for 18 years and older

  • Who Votes?High Level of EducationHigher IncomesWhite-Collar WorkersOlder GenerationsWhitesWomenReligiousUnion MembersStrong Community MembersStrong Political Party MembersCompetitive Election Districts

  • Why Wont People Vote?Negative campaignsNumerous and frequent electionsLack of party identificationSimilarity between candidatesMistrust in governmentApathy or Status QuoLack of political efficacyVoter registration difficultiesFeeling of not belonging to a community

  • How People VoteVote based on political partyVote based on the issuesVote based on campaignsVote based on coalitions

  • Voting Based on Political PartyParty affiliation arguably the primary determinant for a voterMost voters are Democrats, but not as firmly dedicatedRepublicans successful with independents and moderates and have higher voter turnout

  • Voting Based on the IssuesProspective VotingVote based on information of issues and candidatesEx. Pro-life citizen votes for Bush over Gore in 2000

    Retrospective VotingVote based on past events whether successful or failedEx. The economy suffered during Bushs (R) administration hurting McCains (R) campaign against Obama (D) in 2008

  • Voting Based on the CampaignReawakens partisan loyalties of votersProvides voters chance to witness how candidates handle the spotlight and responsibilityAllows voters to judge a candidates character and values

  • Voting Based on a CoalitionDemocratsStrong loyalties among blacks and JewsSupport for minority-based policies (affirmative action, civil rights)However, limited popular contributionModerate support among most hispanicsSupport for pro-immigration policiesLow voter turnoutCatholics and unions dividedBased on conservative stance on social issues (abortion)RepublicansStrong loyalties among businesses and conservativesSupport for tax cuts and limited economic regulationSocial conservatives (evangelicals)Moderate support among farmers and professionalsFarmers and professionals can switch based on economy

  • Types of ElectionsPrimary ElectionsPrimary ElectionsNominating elections which voters choose which candidate from each party to run in general electionClosed PrimaryOnly voters registered in the party may vote for candidateOpen PrimaryVoters choose whichever candidates of either party by selecting party in the voting boothBlanket PrimaryVoters choose whichever candidate of any party for different positionsRunoff PrimaryElection between top two candidates who received the most votes but neither received the majority of votesCalifornia Democratic Party v. Jones (2000)

  • 2008 Democratic Primary ElectionCalifornia ballot

  • Types of ElectionsGeneral ElectionsVoters choose between all candidates nominated by political party or running as independentsAnyone of any or no political party may choose whichever candidate no matter party affiliation

  • Types of ElectionsSpecial ElectionsVoters must decide on an issue or a candidate in special circumstances not related to a primary or general electionInitiativeCitizens propose a new law with enough signaturesReferendumLegislatures refer a law to be voted by the peopleRecallCitizens petition to hold an election to choose to remove a public officialSpecial elections are only held at the state or local levels

  • Congressional ElectionsHeld every two years on even-numbered yearsEvery two years to elect RepresentativesSenatorial elections may be held (1/3rd of Senators)Mid-Term ElectionsOff-Year Elections held between presidential electionsLower voter turnoutIncumbency EffectGenerally win elections due to low voter turn out, success in office, or good campaigningReelection Rates of U.S. House and U.S. Senate (1964-2012)Franking privilegeFree mailings to constituentsCoattail EffectWeak or less known candidates win based on success of popular presidential candidate through party affiliation

  • Franking Privilege

  • Congressional ElectionsCongressional Apportionment and DistrictsCongress established number of representatives for House at 435 (1911)Each state with at least one representativeCurrently, one representative per 709,760Reapportionment every 10 years based on national censusRedistrictingStates draw congressional districtsDistricts must be relatively equalConsequencesMalapportionment - districts of unequal sizeGerrymanderingDrawing districts to favor a political party or groupBaker v. Carr (1962)Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)Reynolds v. Sims (1964)Shaw v. Reno (1993)

  • Floridas 2013 U.S. House Districts

  • Gerrymandering

  • Congressional ElectionsPrimary ElectionsCandidate gathers signatures through a following to be placed on ballotPrimary election determines party nominee

  • Presidential ElectionsHeld every four yearsPhases of Presidential Candidacy:ExplorationAnnouncementPrimaries and CaucusesNominating ConventionsGeneral Election CampaignElectoral College

  • Presidential ElectionExplorationDoes a candidate have enough political and financial support?Sets up an exploratory committee to find outAllows for growth of candidacy with media coverage, national attention

  • Presidential ElectionAnnouncementCandidate decides to run for officeSets up press conference to announce candidacy for presidentFormal declaration as a national spectacle to propose agenda

  • Presidential ElectionCampaign StrategiesStaffPolitical consultantFinance chairpersonCommunications DirectorPress SecretaryVisibility and AppealPollster and Tracking PollsFocus GroupsGet Out the Vote (GOTV)

  • Presidential ElectionPrimaries and CaucusesPrimariesVoters from primary states vote for the party nomineeState delegates throw support toward primary vote winnerMost commonly used methodFront-loadingHoward Dean Scream (2004)CaucusesHistorically, state and party leaders met and chose nomineeVery few states use caucusesIowas caucus is the first major electoral event usually determining the presidential candidate for each party

  • Presidential ElectionNominating ConventionsPolitical parties hold national nominating convention attended by state delegatesChoose presidential nominee, vice-presidential nominee, party platform, unify partyDemocratic Party and Republican Party do not use the same system of choosing a nominee

  • Republican National ConventionNominee is chosen when a candidate receives a majority of the total delegatesUnofficially determined by results of presidential primariesIn 2012, the Republican nominee required 1,144 out of 2,286

  • Democratic National ConventionNominee is chosen when a candidate receives a majority of the total delegatesState primary results determine candidate pledgesSuperdelegates, not obligated by state results and chosen based on political status, can determine party nomineeIn 2012, the Democratic nominee required 2,777 out of 5,556

  • Presidential/Congressional ElectionCampaigningPosition IssuesIssue which divides voters and candidates have opposing viewsExamples:Abortion: pro-choice or pro-lifeMarriage: man/woman or heterosexual/homosexualValence IssuesUniversally shared views and voters determine which candidate is more likely to address/solveCampaigns have recently concentrated more on valence issuesExamples:Low unemploymentLow crime

  • Presidential/Congressional ElectionCampaigningTelevisionPaid advertisement - spotsNews broadcasts - visualsDebatesTelevised or town hallGain exposure, usually for lesser-knownsCould lead to showcase flawsRick Perry GaffeDirect Mail/InternetLists used to direct specific issue-based ads to specific demographicsUseful to earn campaign fundsNixon - Kennedy Debate1960

  • 1988 Presidential CampaignVice President George Bush (R) vs. Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis (D)Read My LipsTank AdWillie Horton Ad

  • Campaign FinanceCongressional and PresidentialMoney is the mothers milk of politics. - Jesse Unruh (D)Sources of Campaign MoneyCampaign Finance RulesCampaign Finance ReformEffect of Campaign Finance

  • Sources of Campaign MoneyPrivate individuals are primary sourcesFederal government matches individual contributions to presidential candidatesCongressional candidates receive no federal fundsPolitical Action Committees (PACS) secondary sourceHard moneyFinancial contribution directly given to candidateSoft moneyFinancial contribution given to political party as a whole

  • Campaign Finance ReformFederal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) and 1974 AmendmentsRequired disclosure of donorsLimits on individual contributionsEstablished Federal Election Commission (FEC)Buckley v. Valeo (1976)Constitutional:Limits on individual contributionsDisclosure of contributionsUnconstitutional:Limits on campaign expenditures

  • Campaign Finance ReformBipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA)/ McCain-Feingold ActBanned soft money to national partiesRestricted PAC campaign ads527 organizationNon-profit, tax-exempt political committee may not campaign directly for candidate or political partyMay address issue or character of a candidatePublicly disclose finances and donorsEx. Swift Boat Veterans, MoveOn.orgCitizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)Overturned restriction on corporation and union contributions allowing unlimited financial support for campaign support adsRuled unconstitutional based on First Amendment freedom of speech

  • Campaign Finance Limits

    To each candidate or candidate committee per electionTo national party committee per calendar yearTo state, district & local party committee per calendar yearTo any other political committee per calendar yearSpecial LimitsIndividual may give$2,600*$32,400*$10,000 (combined limit)$5,000$123,200* overall biennial limit:$48,600* to all candidates$74,600* to all PACs and partiesNational Party Committee may give$5,000No limitNo limit$5,000$45,400* to Senate candidate per campaignState, District & Local Party Committee may give$5,000 (combined limit)No limitNo limit$5,000 (combined limit)No limitPAC (multicandidate) may give$5,000$15,000$5,000 (combined limit)$5,000No limitPAC (not multicandidate) may give$2,600*$32,400*$10,000 (combined limit)$5,000No limitAuthorized Campaign Committee may give $2,000No limit No limit $5,000No limit

  • Presidential ElectionGeneral ElectionElectoral CollegeMajority of electoral votes - 270Winner-Take-AllNebraska and Maine*Campaign in Electoral-rich statesTop 11 states would give a candidate 270 electoral votes (55), Texas (38), New York (29), Florida (29), Illinois (20), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Georgia (16), Michigan (16), North Carolina (15), New Jersey (14)Swing StatesFlorida in 2000 ElectionOhio in 2004 Election

  • 2000 Election - Gore/Bush

  • 2004 Election - Bush/Kerry

  • 2008 Election - Obama/McCain

  • Electoral Map (2012)

  • 2012 Electoral Map by District

  • Results of ElectionsMaintaining ElectionMajority party/power maintains power and traditional voter loyaltiesDeviating ElectionMinority power wins with support of new voters, but voters maintain traditional loyaltiesUsually temporary due to current issues or eventsCritical/Realigning ElectionMinority power wins majority with new voter coalition and maintains subsequent powerOccurs due to serious or extreme conditions and eventsDealigning ElectionVoters less dependent on partisan loyaltiesSplit-ticket voting

  • Realigning/Critical Election1920s dominated by Republicans in Congress and White HouseGreat Depression hits in 19291932 ElectionFranklin D. Roosevelt (D) establishes new Democratic coalition of blacks, farmers, southerners, Catholics, Jews, unions, and urbanitesDemocrats win landslide victories and majorities in White House and Congress


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