GOV: Public Opinion(ch 7) Flashcards Preview

Econ/AP Gov > GOV: Public Opinion(ch 7) > Flashcards

Flashcards in GOV: Public Opinion(ch 7) Deck (13):

public opinion and democracy

what most americans think about political issues


discrepancies between public opinion and government policies

-public opinion is not the purpose of government therefore they make laws in whole best interest
-there are checks on public opinion to prevent public opinion from being government opinion: ie we have a representative gov, federalism, separation of powers, and an independent judiciary far removed from public opinion
-discerning public opinion is difficult: polls and data can be skewed, opinion changes rapidly


steps to conducting a scientific poll

1. define the universe: whose opinion do we want?
2. construct a sample--representative slice of total universe (how many people does it need to accurately represent the majority). all samples must be random. quota sample: a sample deliberately constructed to reflect several of the major characteristics of a given universe
3. prepare a valid question, make as unbiased as possible
4. interview and conduct a poll
5. analyze and report findings


use of polls in politics

-benchmark poll: used by prospective candidates to identify which message to emphasize
-tracking poll: done during a campaign, tracks how a candidate is doing on a day-day basis given the political events of the day and whos in the lead
-exit poll: predicts winners, asks people after they vote who they voted for


problems with polls

sampling errors: margin of error +/- 3%
-not enough respondents
-shaping polls: bandwagon effects: pushes people in one direction/the other typically based on who else everyone else is voting for


criteria for polls

random sample, comprehensible qs--need to have basic knowledge, fairly asked--no loaded or emotional words, carefully considered answering categories to measure intensity--strongly agree/disagree/scale 1-10, not every difference in answers is a significant difference--margin of error


how opinions differ

-saliency: how strong we feel to an issue
-stability: public opinion changes
-opinion policy congruence: discrepancy bw public opinion and policy
-political socialization: parental influence, vary with class, race, religion, gender, etc
-elite opinions: know more about politics, more likely to hold a consistent set of opinions about policies


political ideology

A more or less consistent set of beliefs about what policies government ought to pursue
liberal: more gov involvement in economic (not social) issues, mainstream KNOW WHO MAKES UP A TRADITIONAL LIBERAL/CONSERVATIVE
conservative: less gov in economics, more in social issues


political elites, public opinion, and public policy

influence, raise, and frame political issues, state norms by which to settle the issues and define policy options
-limit: they cant completely define economic crime, and other problems rooted in personal experience, they also contradict and dont agree


public opinion "then"

founding fathers believed that average citizens lacked time, information, energy, interest, and experience to decide on public policy


public opinion types

opinion saliency: some care more about certain issues than others
opinion stability: opinions tend to be more volatile
opinion policy congruence: some issues government agrees with public, others not


political socialization

the process by which personal and other background traits influence ones views about politics and government


new polling to determine party

instead of asking "are you conservative, liberal, etc?" they ask multiple questions and use answers to sort them into a half dozen different groups