Presentation on theme: "Unit #1 Part 2 PUBLIC OPINION AND BEHAVIOR. Public Opinion and the Purpose of Polling Inform the public: Educate the voting population so that they."— Presentation transcript:
Public Opinion and the Purpose of Polling Inform the public: Educate the voting population so that they can make an informed decision. Guide a candidate’s campaign strategy: candidates respond to public opinion and adjust campaign so that they may attain the most favor. Provide feedback for policymakers (“approval ratings”): Politicians only stay in power if we let them.
Types of Polls Random digit dialing. How effective are these? Internet polls (typically hosted by news sources). What are the pros/cons of this? Exit polls (taken after a person exits the polling site) “Who did you vote for”. Pros/cons? “Push-polls:” Dirty little campaign tactics occasionally caught by media watchdog groups. A push poll uses language designed to plant negative disinformation about a candidate in the minds of potential voters. What purpose does this serve?
Factors Affecting Poll Accuracy Random sample (most important factor for accuracy). When would you do or not do this? Sampling size: approximately 1,200-1,500 typically. Why this amount? Bias in developing the survey instrument and/or conducting the survey. Fox news vs. MSNBC News.
Concerns with Polls Polling is over-used leading to the “horse-race” mentality, distracting voters away from issues. Polling in the primary/caucus season contributes to the bandwagon effect. (I’ll vote that way because everyone else is voting that way) Exit poll projections can be wrong (Florida, 2000). Decades of professional polling reveals an uneducated, uninterested, and easily swayed electorate.
How would you characterize the rate of voter turnout in the United States over the past 24 years? Looking at the Racial breakdown of voter turnout, what conclusions can be drawn? Why do you believe it is the way it is?
Historical Qualification for Voting Race: Suffrage affirmed to all races by the 15 th amendment (1870) Gender: Suffrage affirmed by the 19 th amendment (1919) Income: Poll tax banned by the 24 th amendment (1964) Literacy: Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Federal Enforcement) Age: Changed to 18 by the 26 th amendment
Current Qualifications for Voting Qualifications to vote are passed by individual states. Citizenship Residency Age Voter registration (all states but ND)
Voter Turnout Current Turnout Rates Presidential elections = 60% Midterm elections = 40% Primary elections = 25% Local elections = 15% Elections in industrialized nations in the West = as high as 90% Reasons for low voter turnout in the past Too many elections Long confusing ballots Voter registration requirements Weekday elections Narrow choice of candidates Apathy (especially young people) Lack of political efficacy
Trends in Voting Behavior 1. Likely to turnout: older, educated, married, whites with middle-upper income 2. Likely to vote Republican: older, middle-upper class, white men 3. Likely to vote Democrat: younger, lower-middle class, racially diverse, women What implications do these trends have in U.S. Politics?
Types of Voting 1. Policy voting: Voting based on personal policy/issue preferences. 2. Retrospective voting: Voting after a close examination of a party/candidate’s stance on issues.