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American Government Chapter 5

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1 American Government Chapter 5
Public Opinion American Government Chapter 5

2 What is Public opinion? Definition - What do the people think?
Public opinion and government action often differ Our government was built to check the power of many “public opinions” (We are very diverse) Representative government, federalism, separation of powers, Electoral College evidence of checks Polling is not an exact science by any means. Factors – ignorance, stability, sensitivity, wording

3 The Origins of Political Attitudes
Are we brainwashed by media, demagogues into thinking one way or another? Some key factors do allow us to form our own opinion

4 The Role of the Family Survey says: 91% of HS students know parents preference for President As you get older you do tend to become more independent minded but studies show most stick with the original party The majority who do switch do to the Independent party Partisanship of children is starting to decline in recent years

5 Religion Social conservatives (Catholics and Protestants) Social liberals (Jews) Economic liberals (Catholics and Jews) Economic conservatives (Protestants) Why? Social Status – Catholics and Jews started out as poor and discriminated against during immigration (Democrat) They are doing better now and affiliation is waning

6 Religion Religious traditions – Jews emphasize social justice Democratic belief, Protestants emphasize personal salvation more of a Republican belief The Christian Coalition (Rev Pat Robertson) is a huge political force in this country Strongest in South, Midwest and West (red states)

7 The Gender Gap Difference in political views between men and women
Since the 1960’s men have become increasingly republican, while women voting habits have remained unchanged Reason - men are more conservative on issues such as; size of government, gun control, welfare, gay rights, abortion etc… Survey says 60% of women still would have voted for Clinton!!!!!!

8 Schooling and Information
Generally speaking college students are more liberal than the general population - Survey says! 1984 Harvard College poll – Reagan (R) 28% Mondale (D) 61% The longer you stay in college studies show you get more liberal, social sciences (more liberal than engineering and physical sciences) Some say this is because the more educated you are on social/political issues the more problems you see and things that need fixing.

9 Schooling and Information
Professors and teachers tend to be more liberal, and may teach liberal agendas without knowing it Teachers require freedom to explore new and unpopular ideas (tenure) very liberal Those who go to college also tend to vote at a higher percentage

10 Cleavages in Public Opinion
Age, race gender, rich, poor, ethnicity, region, education, occupation, blue-collar, white-collar All believe in different things, and in many cases crosscut Some of these groups filter out to be more influential in the long run

11 Social Class Truck drivers talk differently, look differently and vote differently than an investment banker Survey says:1950’s study shows that white-collar worker tend to be more conservative with social welfare issues and support more internationalist views on foreign policy than blue-collar workers

12 Social Class Public opinion and voting rights have been less determined by class in more recent years largely due to schooling Survey Says: Education Levels Top 100 richest counties % Democrat % Democrat

13 Race and Ethnicity African Americans are overwhelming liberal minded democrats (OJ was innocent, justice is biased, affirmative action, liberal economic welfare policies) More similarities than in the past, (against abortion, no racial quotas, tough on crime, most would vote for a qualified African American candidate for President)

14 Race and Ethnicity Signs of coming together of the youth of both races
Survey says: 50% of all Latinos live in Texas and California, while 75 % of all Asian Americans live in California (difficult to identify their views on national polls) As we saw in the Florida election more and more Latino’s voted for Bush

15 Region In American history this used to be the #1 most important factor in politics and remains very important today South – more and more liberal as time goes on Protestant, liberal, civil liberties, civil rights, more accommodating to business enterprise, less support for labor unions, No northern democrat with exception to FDR and JFK has ever been elected without winning the southern vote. Electoral college makes south very powerful

16 Political Ideology Definition – A coherent and consistent set of beliefs about who ought to rule, what principle rulers ought to obey, and what rulers ought to pursue.

17 Consistent Attitudes Survey says: Moderates are the majority, Conservatives come in second and Liberals are the smallest of the three John Q. Public does not use the term Liberal, Conservative like political analysts do. Polls use that language Conventional political ideology is hard to find, to many crossovers, however Americanism (Ch4) is rampant in society

18 What does Liberalism and Conservatism Mean?
Very confusing lots of crisscrossing Liberal: Self description - “Activists, committed, progressive” their enemies – “reactionary, rightwing, extremists” Conservative: Self Description - “responsible, prudent, mainstream” their enemies – “crackpot, knee-jerk, leftwing, bleeding heart tree huggers”

19 Various Categories 3 categories are used to sum up peoples thoughts politically

20 Economy people who favor government efforts to ensure jobs, to spend $ on medical and educational programs, increase upper-class taxes = Liberal

21 Civil Rights people who favor strong federal action to desegregate, increase opportunities and compensatory programs for minorities, and enforce civil rights laws = liberal

22 Conduct tolerant of demonstrations, legalizing marijuana, decriminalizing “victimless crimes, expanding the rights of the accused, go after crime causes rather than the offenders = liberal

23 Analyzing Consistency
Most people take a buffet style approach to liberal and conservative policies Pure Liberals 17% - Liberal on both economic and conduct matters Pure Conservatives 28% - Conservative on both economic and conduct issues Libertarians 21% - Conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues Populists 24% - Liberal on economic issues and conservative on social issues Pg 122

24 Political Elites Every society socialist and capitalist has an elite
Elite = money, education, athletic ability, political power etc… In the US political elite = politically active = more ideological consistency (birds of a feather do flock together)

25 Is There a “New Class”? Old classes were capitalists and workers
New class gets its power not from the power, resources, and growth of business, but the power, resources, and growth of government Politicians, bureaucrats, members of the media, campaign managers are the new class (The Political Elite)

26 Is There a “New Class”? The Political Elite
Splitting from the middle class, this new class tends to be a bit more liberal (educated high income and influential) New Deal Coalition (blue collar workers, southerners, African Americans, and intellectuals) is starting to break apart

27 Political Elites, Public Opinion, and Public Policy
Political elites have a distinct advantage They have access to the media and can use it to their advantage They establish what is mainstream (the norm) every thing is based off of this  

28 Summary As soon as you think something, it will change
As soon as you think you know who thinks it, it will change The Political Elite are in the process of developing the Death Star to control us all

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