Presentation on theme: "Linkage Institutions Non Governmental activity that connects the citizen/voter to the government –Media –Political Parties –Campaigns –Polling –Interest."— Presentation transcript:
Linkage Institutions Non Governmental activity that connects the citizen/voter to the government –Media –Political Parties –Campaigns –Polling –Interest Groups/PACs
Linkage institutions Essential questions Is the Media the 4 th branch of government? Are lobbyists and Political Action Committees (PACs) the essence of Pluralism or a threat to democracy? Are lobbyists too powerful? Are unlimited campaign contributions free speech or a threat to democracy? Should campaign contributions be limited? Should the US care about voter turnout? In what ways can VTO be increased? Is low VTO a problem? Is a 2 party system the best system for democracy? Why do 3 rd parties rarely win? Should the US move to a proportional representation system?
Campaign Challenges Handling the Press? Campaign Financing Televised Debates The News Media Individual Contributions PAC Contributions Personal ContributionsParty Contributions
Contributions and Expenses Campaigns are VERY expensive. House races can cost over $1 million but usually cost $ ,000 for incumbents, less for challengers. Senate races cost much more. All political money is regulated by the federal government under the Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971, 1974, and 1976.
Campaign commercials Livingroom Candidate
Soft Money Soft money is money with no limits or rules that is raised and spent outside of federal election guidelines. Soft money is often used to pay for ads that do not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a particular candidate. As long as these ads do not use the words “vote for,” “elect,” “vote against” or the like, ads can be paid for with unregulated soft money. Many argue that the huge infusion of unregulated soft money has destroyed the federal campaign laws.
Personal Contributions In Buckley v. Valeo (1976) the Supreme Court struck down limits on personal campaign spending. Spending your own money on your campaign is a free speech right. Steve Forbes, Ross Perot, and other wealthy Americans have taken advantage of their personal wealth in their quest for office.
Do We Vote for the Candidate or the Campaign? The most important factor in any campaign is the candidate (he/she is even more important than money). Campaigns are able (most of the time) to downplay a candidate’s weaknesses and emphasize her strengths. However, even the best campaigns cannot put an ineffective candidate in the win column – most of the time. Most people vote for a candidate not the campaign.
The Roots and Development of American Interest Groups Federalist 10 Madison and Pluralism National Groups Emerge ( ) Progressive Era ( ) –Organized Labor – the American Federation of Labor (AFL) (1886) –Business and Trade Associations – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) (1895) The Rise of the Interest Group State (1960s and 1970s) –Religious and Ideological Groups –Business Groups, Trade, and Professional Associations –Organized Labor
What Do Interest Groups Do? The most common and effective interest group technique is lobbying or seeking to influence and persuade others to support your group's position. Lobbyists are hired by your college or university, businesses, foreign countries, trade associations, and anyone else wanting their voice heard on policy matters. A lobbyist is someone whose task it is to influence legislation or policymaking.
Interest Groups Techniques Direct Techniques: Lobbying –private meetings –testifying –drafting legislation –social occasions –providing political information –supplying nomination suggestions Indirect Techniques: Generating Public Pressure –groundswell of public pressure –using constituents as Lobbyists –building alliances with other groups
What Makes an Interest Group Successful? In general three factors tend to lead to interest group success: 1.Leaders – Having a prominent leader aids in the reputation of the group and enhances a group’s ability to attain its goals. 2.Patrons and Funding – Funding is critical. Without money, it is difficult to get your message out. 3.Members – A group must have members to be successful. Organizing members allows for strength in numbers and pooling of financial support.
Interest Group Ratings of Selected Member of Congress
Criticism of Interest Groups Interest Groups have been criticized for –ignoring the wider interest of society –producing confusion and deadlock in Congress –generating so much emotion that they make reasoned discussion difficult –having too much influence
SEIU Advertisement Bush...but worse Swiftboat Vets Interest Groups
3.Political Socialization and Other Factors That Influence Opinion Formation Political attitudes are grounded in values. We learn our values by a process known as political socialization. Many factors influence opinion formation. –The Family –The Mass Media –School and Peers –The Impact of Events – Social Groups Religion Race Gender Region
5.How We Measure Public Opinion In order for a poll to be reliable, it must have: Proper question wording An accurate sample –contacting respondents – Since 95% of Americans have phones, random phone calling would be a valid method. –How will the cell phone use impact polling?
In general, do not trust a poll that does not tell you the question wording, the sampling method, and the ways in which respondents were contacted. Reputable pollsters will also tell you the number of respondents (the 'n') and the error rate (+ or - 5%). Any poll that tells you to call for yes and for no is unscientific and unreliable. This is not a random sample at all! Measuring Public Opinion
Types of Polls Tracking polls--continuous surveys that enable a campaign to chart its daily rise and fall in popularity. These may be a decent measure of trends.Tracking polls Exit polls--polls conducted at polling places on election day. Deliberative polls--a new kind of poll first tried in A relatively large scientific sample of Americans (600) were selected for intensive briefings, discussions, and presentations about issue clusters including foreign affairs, the family, and the economy. A deliberative poll attempts to measure what the public would think if they had better opportunities to thoughtfully consider the issues first. Push Polling
6.How Polling and Public Opinion Affect Politicians, Politics, and Policy As early as the American Revolution, the authors of The Federalist Papers noted that “all government rests on public opinion.” Politicians spend millions of dollars per year trying to define what the public wants. Public opinion is unsteady and constantly changing, making reliable readings difficult. Polls can distort the election process due to mass communications effects such as “bandwagon.”
2.Different Kinds of Elections Primary Elections General Elections Initiative, Referendum, and Recall –Initiatives allow citizens to propose legislation and submit it to popular vote. –A referendum allows the legislature to submit proposed legislation for popular approval. –Recall elections allow citizens to remove someone from office.
Patterns of Presidential Elections Party Realignments are rare occurrences in which existing party affiliations change dramatically. Secular Realignment is the gradual shifting of party coalitions.
Incumbency Incumbency advantage – the electoral edge afforded to those already in office…achieved through: Higher visibility Experience Organization Fund-raising ability
Who Votes? Income – people with higher incomes have a higher tendency to vote. Age – older people tend to vote more often than younger people (less than half of eligible year olds are registered to vote). Gender – Since 1980, women have a higher tendency to vote for Democrats than Republicans. Race – in general, whites tend to vote more regularly than African-Americans (this may be due to income and education rather than race).