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Public Opinion Is the federal government truly of the people, by the people, and for the people? Large budget deficit, public opinion says people want.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Opinion Is the federal government truly of the people, by the people, and for the people? Large budget deficit, public opinion says people want."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Opinion Is the federal government truly of the people, by the people, and for the people? Large budget deficit, public opinion says people want a balanced budget Busing ordered to balance schools racially, but people oppose busing. ERA not ratified, yet people supported it. No term limits, yet most people support them.

2 What is public opinion? California- Monetary Control Bill example. Americans are typically poorly informed about government and care little about most public policy issues, but they are good at using limited information to figure out what policies, parties, or candidates most nearly reflect their values or favor their interests and voting accordingly.

3 Polling Keys to see if polling is good: Are the questions comprehensible? Are the questions worded fairly? Is the poll done using a random sample? What is the sampling error? Exit polls: interviews with randomly selected voters conducted at polling places on election day in a representative sample of voting districts.

4 AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION Political socialization- Process by which background traits influence one’s political views. Typically, elites hold a different view of politics than the average citizen. -More likely to have a consistent set of opinions about the policies government ought to pursue.

5 Family Children same party as parents, but declining Crossovers are independents Party identification higher than beliefs Young people tend to be more liberal on issues such as gay marriage, yet more conservative on issues such as vouchers and privatization of social security. (Figure 7.1)

6 Religion Religious influences on public opinion are most pronounced on social issues, and less evident in other policy areas. Refer to Table 7.1 and views on school prayer by religious groups.

7 Religion Political conservatives not necessarily more religious than political liberals

8 Occupation Occupation can play a role in public opinion, especially with labor unions. Professionalization: Identifying with one’s profession

9 School Engrain civic duty College tends to make people more liberal New and more ideas Liberal professors More degrees, more liberal Beginning to change a little bit. College students getting information from sources other than newspapers and magazines.

10 Mass Media Liberal media (Newspaper editorial boards, MSNBC, news magazines Conservative media (Talk Radio, FOX News, Wall Street Journal)

11 Contact with Governmental Structures Opinions shaped by positive or negative dealings with: Tax authorities School Officials Police Others?

12 Region Northern Liberals Southern Conservatives New England independence Texas conservative California liberal but anti-immigrant

13 Class Most view themselves as middle class Not important voting factor Other issues (abortion, prayer, arms control, environmentalism) more important While there are economic differences among members of the different parties, these differences are typically not based on economic issues.

14 Gender Gap between men and women in political views. Women tend to favor Democrats, while men favor Republicans. Figure 7.2- Women are more likely to view certain issues as very important than men.

15 Race and Ethnicity African-Americans overwhelmingly Democratic. Latinos trending Democrat. Asian-Americans even more Republican than Anglo whites. Difficult to make generalizations on beliefs from race to race. Even though you make generalizations about party ID, the beliefs can be quite diverse.


17 Crosscutting Cleavages “Divisions within society that make groups more heterogeneous.” Differences do not reinforce each other Lessens the importance of these differences Multiple allegiance

18 Ideology “Coherent and consistent set of beliefs about who ought to rule, what principles rulers ought to obey, and what policies rulers ought to pursue”

19 Liberals Increase taxes for wealthy Government intervention for employment, welfare, other social programs Affirmative action Decriminalizing “victimless crimes” Rights of the accused Pro-Choice  Free Trade Liberalism in Europe

20 Pure Liberal Demographics 20% of population (2009) Young College Jewish or nonreligious

21 Conservatives Lower taxes Victim Rights Little government intervention Older Higher incomes Midwest White

22 Libertarians Very little government intervention Economic conservatives Social Liberals Young College White Nonreligious West Higher Incomes

23 Populists Economic liberals Social conservatives Reduce inequalities Hard on crime School prayer Older Low income Religious Female South/Midwest

24 Self-Identification of Ideology by Americans Gallup Poll (2009) 40% Conservative 36% Moderate 20% Liberal Gallup Poll (2010) Democrat or Leaning Democrat- 44%, down from 49% in 2009 Republican or Leaning Republican- 40%, down from 41% in 2009 Independent- 16%, up from 10% in 2009

25 Left Wing Political Spectrum Communists "Pure democracy" Classless Society Government not needed Socialists European Countries Welfare State Equality of Condition Democrats Extreme to Moderate High Taxes Pro-Choice Left Wing

26 Right Wing Political Spectrum Republicans Moderate to Extreme Pro-Life/Pro Choice Low Taxes Christian Right Moral Majority Pro-Life Prayer in schools Neo-Nazis/Fascists KKK Racists Anit-immigrant Right Wing Conservatives

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