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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.

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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:

1 Unit #1 Part 2 PUBLIC 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 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.

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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 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

9 Current Qualifications for Voting  Qualifications to vote are passed by individual states.  Citizenship  Residency  Age  Voter registration (all states but ND)

10 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

11 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?

12 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.


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