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Political Beliefs and Behaviors

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Presentation on theme: "Political Beliefs and Behaviors"— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Beliefs and Behaviors
American political ideology

2 What’s your political belief?
Survey given to year olds One day the President was driving his car to a meeting. Because he was late, he was driving very fast. The police stopped the car. (Finish the story) Different countries answer differently England – Queen would be released France – President would be excused US – President would get a ticket like everyone else

3 American Political Culture
Political Culture – a set of widely shared beliefs and values Values & Beliefs – deep-rooted ideals that shape one’s perception of political issues Opinion – a specific view about a particular issue or event (not always objective) Public Opinion – attitudes about institutions, leaders, political issues, and events

4 CORE VALUES Liberty and Freedom
Freedom of speech and religion are fundamental parts of American political culture People should be free to lead their lives with minimal government interference

5 CORE VALUES Equality Political equality – all adult citizens should have equal voting rights Legal Equality – everyone is entitled to equal treatment before the law Equality of opportunity – all Americans should have a chance to succeed in life

6 CORE VALUES Individualism
Respect for the dignity and importance of each individual People should be responsible for their own decisions and well-being

7 CORE VALUES Democracy Government should be based on the consent of the governed The majority has the right to rule The rights of the minority need to be respected and protected Citizens have the responsibility to support their local communities

8 TEST TIP Many released tests have included questions asking students to identify an answer that is NOT a core value of American political culture Remember - American political culture does support economic opportunity but it does not support economic equality

9 Political Socialization
The process by which political values are formed and passed from one generation to the next People in different social “groups” tend to share certain opinions: group identification

10 The #1 most important agent of political socialization
Family The #1 most important agent of political socialization Very strong correlation for Political Party support Children raised in households where both parents strongly identify with the same political party are likely to identify with that political party themselves

11 Mass Media The major source of political news The “new parent”
The Mass Media provides news in small biased pieces called “sound bytes” There are now cable channels, satellite radio channels, websites, blogs, and other media that cater to and reinforce political ideologies rather than report facts

12 Education Schools attempt to instill the basic values and political culture of democracy. A college education often leads to more liberal views, but more conservative views are often tied to the wealthy – most of whom have a high level of education, but are older. College graduates do have a higher level of political participation than non-graduates.

13 Social Groups People in different social “groups” tend to share certain opinions: group identification “Blue collar” (Laborer) typically are Democrats “White collar” (Businessmen) typically are Republicans * Relationship is becoming less clear in recent elections

14 Gender More men support defense spending, more women support health care issues More women consider sexual harassment a serious problem than do men Since ’60s, women vote Democratic more than men, and vice versa Not as significant of an indicator as marriage (married vs. unmarried)

15 Race and Ethnicity African Americans – 90% Democrats
Hispanic Americans – tend to affiliate with Democrats, but less likely than African Americans (Cubans lean Republican) Asian Americans – less liberal than Hispanic Americans or African Americans, but still consistently vote Democrat White, more divided, fluctuates by election

16 Religion Protestants are more conservative on economic matters than Catholics or Jews Jews tend to be more liberal on economic and social issues than Catholics or Protestants Catholics tend to be more liberal on economic issues than they are on social issues (Catholics are becoming more conservative) The “Religious Right” is very socially conservative, especially about gay marriage, school prayer, and abortion

17 Political Ideology Coherent set of values and beliefs about public policy and the role of government The terms “liberal” and “conservative” mean different things at different time periods The extreme wings of both views have become more influential in recent years

18 The American Voter 1950’s study of the American electorate
Divided voters into 4 groups: Ideologues (12%) – strong connection to the policy positions of the major parties Group Benefits Voter (42%) – political views based mainly on groups they liked or disliked Nature of the Times Voters (24%) – opinions based on whether things were personally going well or poorly No Issue Content Voter (22%) – voted based on the likeability of the candidate rather than ideology or issues

19 Conservative Ideology
Supports Expansion of military power Free-market solution to economic problems Less government regulation of business School prayer Opposes Expensive federal social and welfare programs Abortion rights National health care system

20 Liberal Ideology Supports Opposes Political and social reform
Government regulation of business/the economy Abortion rights National health care system Expanded programs for the poor, minorities, & women Opposes Increased military spending Committing troops to foreign wars School prayer

21 “Neo-Cons” Neo-Conservatives Low tax, pro-economic growth
Ordered approach to domestic issues Traditional values – pro-life, against gay marriage, support death penalty Expansive foreign policy Counter global terrorism – “war on terror” expensive

22 Geographic Region Examples: East and West Coasts – more liberal
Mid-West – more conservative Urban - liberal South – s - Democrat “Solid South” but today they are primarily social conservatives White Southerners always less liberal

23 Public Opinion The distribution of individual attitudes about a particular policy issue, candidate, political institution, etc. Today, these opinions are most often communicated through the media in the form of polls

24 George Gallup Developed “Gallup Polls”
Started in st “pollster” Since 1936, Gallup’s agency has picked two general election winners incorrectly (‘48 & ‘76)

25 Sampling Representative – must mirror population you want to be surveyed Random – give everyone in the target population an equal possibility of being sampled Sample size – 1500 to 2000 is enough Wording – questions can’t be leading Conduct the poll by phone or in person Straw poll – poor polling technique due to unscientific methods (straw in the wind) Cell phones have made polling less accurate

26 Exit Polls Polling after voting
Tommy Bradley effect (aka Wilder effect) a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter polls and outcomes in elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other voters will tell pollsters they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, while on election day they vote for the white candidate named after Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor's race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections The Bradley effect theorizes that the inaccurate polls were skewed by the phenomenon of social desirability bias

27 Expanding Suffrage Lifting of property restrictions (1830) – “universal manhood suffrage” gave voting rights to all white males Suffrage for African-Americans ( ) th Amendment – Voting Rights to all Brown v. Board – separate but equal is illegal, killed Jim Crow laws th Amendment – banned poll tax 1965 – Voting Rights Act of 1965 – federal law prohibited (no literacy tests, fair elections etc.)

28 Expanding Suffrage Women’s Suffrage (1920) – 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote *** Women did have full voting rights in New York and several western states prior to 1920 4. 23rd Amendment (1961) – District of Columbia residents able to vote for the president year-olds (1971) – 26th Amendment, sparked by Vietnam *** States can establish a lower minimum voting age if they choose to do so

29 Types of Participation
Conventional Participation Voting in elections. Working in campaigns or running for office. Contacting elected officials. Ringing doorbells for a petition. Running for office.

30 Types of Participation
Protest as Participation Protest – Designed to achieve policy changes through dramatic and unconventional tactics. Civil disobedience – Reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences. Violence – Riots and fighting.

31 Voting Presidential Elections 1964 – 69.3% 1980 – 41.3% 1984 – 60.9%
1988 – 40.5% 1992 – 55.2% 1996 – 49.1% 2000 – 51.3% 2004 – 55.3% 2008 – 61.6% 2012 – 58.2%

32 Who REALLY participates?
1. Education – MOST IMPORTANT, more education=more voting *Increased level of education historically means one is more likely to vote Republican **2008 was an exception Religious involvement *Jews and Catholics more likely to vote than Protestants **Jews and Catholics more likely to vote democratic than are Protestants

33 Who REALLY participates?
Race and Ethnicity – Whites tend to have higher turnout than minorities (might be economically based) *A major shift of African American voters from the Republican to Democratic party occurred during the 1930’s under FDR Age – is the lowest, and 45 and up is the highest (turnout does decrease after age 70) *Young voters trend Democrat, older voters Republican

34 Who REALLY participates?
Gender – men traditionally voted more, now women are 54% of all voters *women tend to favor Democrats, men generally favor Republicans **This is known as the gender gap Marital Status – married people vote at a higher rate than unmarried people

35 Who REALLY participates?
7. Income – people with more money are more likely to vote *lower income brackets tend to favor Democrats, higher income voters generally favor Republicans 8. Government Jobs – government workers vote more than those with private sector jobs

36 Other Reasons to Vote Motor Voter Act (1993) –allowed people to register to vote while applying for or renewing a driver’s license Competitive elections have better turnout Presidential elections have higher turnout “Civic Duty” – a belief that a citizen should participate in the democratic process Citizens who see clear policy differences between parties/candidates more likely to vote

37 Reduced Turnout Cross-cutting cleavages – voters often belong to more than one group These individuals are influenced by many different factors Anything producing cross-pressures will likely reduce voter turnout It is important when polling or testing these voters that variables are controlled

38 Other reasons for low turnout
Voter Registration – blamed as one of the causes of low turnout – has reduced fraud Voter cynicism/distrust about government Decline of political efficacy Difficulty of Absentee Voting Number of Offices we elect too high Elections too frequent Weekday, non-holiday voting Weaker/less organized political parties – less effective “get-out-the-vote” campaigns

39 Your Mission… Become educated about the candidates and the issues Make sure that you are registered VOTE!!!!!!!!!!

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