Presentation on theme: "Public Opinion and Behavior"— Presentation transcript:
1 Public Opinion and Behavior Unit #1 Part 2Public Opinion and Behavior
2 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.
3 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?
4 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.
5 Concerns with PollsPolling 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.
7 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?
8 Historical Qualification for Voting Race: Suffrage affirmed to all races by the 15th amendment (1870)Gender: Suffrage affirmed by the 19th amendment (1919)Income: Poll tax banned by the 24th amendment (1964)Literacy: Voting Rights Act of (Federal Enforcement)Age: Changed to 18 by the 26th amendment
9 Current Qualifications for Voting Qualifications to vote are passed by individual states.CitizenshipResidencyAgeVoter registration (all states but ND)
10 Voter Turnout Current Turnout Rates Reasons for low voter turnout in the pastToo many electionsLong confusing ballotsVoter registration requirementsWeekday electionsNarrow choice of candidatesApathy (especially young people)Lack of political efficacyCurrent Turnout RatesPresidential elections = 60%Midterm elections = 40%Primary elections = 25%Local elections = 15%Elections in industrialized nations in the West = as high as 90%
11 Trends in Voting Behavior 1. Likely to turnout: older, educated, married, whites with middle-upper income2. Likely to vote Republican: older, middle-upper class, white men3. Likely to vote Democrat: younger, lower-middle class, racially diverse, womenWhat implications do these trends have in U.S. Politics?
12 Types of Voting1. 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.