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Flashcards in Political Participation Deck (24)
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political culture

Political culture is a set of commonly held beliefs, values, and norms concerning the manner in which economic and political life should be carried out.

As an example, political culture in the United States recognizes that a president who has not been reelected will step aside.


How do conflicting political culture and consensual political culture differ?

A conflicting political culture is one in which groups with opposing beliefs and viewpoints clash, sometimes violently. On the other hand, the disagreements in consensual political cultures are much less strident, because as a whole the cultures share many common values.


Which factors did Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America cite as reasons for America's successful democracy?

de Tocqueville believed that America's success was due to:

  • the lack of a feudal aristocracy to block the populace's ambitions
  • abundant amounts of easily acquired land
  • the myriad opportunities available for making a living
  • an independent spirit honed by the ever-expanding frontier


Most Americans believe that all citizens should have _____ of opportunity and should be treated the same before the law.


The vast majority of Americans believe that equality of opportunity and equal treatment by the law are hallmarks of the American system.



Individualism is the belief that the government should leave the citizen alone. It is the predominance of this belief that has kept the government small and unobtrusive. 


What does the term "rule of law" mean?

Rule of law means that the government is required to apply the law equally to all people pursuant to written standards and cannot be arbitrary, or capriciously favor one person over another.


civic duty

Civic duty refers to the commonly held belief that individuals have an obligation to take local affairs seriously and become involved where possible. Civic duty can take the form of attending parent teacher association meetings, educating oneself on local issues, voting, or volunteering.


free enterprise

Free enterprise is economic competition without government involvement or interference. The free enterprise system is a long-cherished American political belief.



Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production, such as factories and land. 

Capitalism is marked by private property, competition, and minimal government involvement in the production and pricing of goods and services.


Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, Americans' distrust of the government began to increase. Why?

During the period, the Vietnam War and the anti-war demonstrations began to signal a shift in Americans' attitude toward the government, which was exacerbated by the Watergate Crisis and the resignation of Richard Nixon.

More modern political scandals, such as Iran-Contra, Whitewater, and the war in Iraq, have only heightened Americans' distrust of government.


Political efficacy refers to a citizen's belief that he/she can accomplish what task?

Political efficacy refers to a citizen's belief that he/she can influence political affairs.


internal efficacy

Internal efficacy is the belief that one can understand political events enough to participate in them.


external efficacy

External efficacy is the belief that one can make a difference by participating in politics, and that one's government will respond to demands of its citizens.


What efficacy trend have political scientists noted in recent years?

Political scientists believe that both internal and external efficacy are on the decline; citizens no longer believe that they can either understand or meaningfully participate in the government.


What is political socialization?

Political socialization refers to the process by which an individual acquires certain political beliefs. 

The most common determinant of political beliefs, and therefore a primary component in political socialization, is the political beliefs of one's parents.


How do families affect political affiliation?

Most children adopt the same political affiliation as their parents.


What do studies show about people of one political belief who move into politically homogenous neighborhoods that don't share that belief?

Studies show that individuals adopt the political beliefs of their neighborhoods and peer groups which may result in the changing of their political affiliation.


What age group is more likely to vote, younger people or older people?

Older people vote more often than younger people.

While voting among people aged 18-29 has been increasing, the youth vote still represented only 19% of those who voted in the 2012 presidential election.

Except for support from the youth vote for Reagan and Bush, younger voters are more likely to vote for Democrats than for Republicans.


What effect does higher education have on political participation?

Studies show that people with at least some college education are more likely to vote and tend to support more liberal candidates.


_____ _____ refers to the difference in the way men and women vote.

Gender gap

Since 1952, there has been a fairly significant gender gap between men and women voters.  The 2012 election saw not only a record number of women voters, but also the highest gender gap in polling history.

Women are more likely than men to support Democratic candidates, to be more socially liberal, and to support spending on social services (as opposed to higher levels of military spending).


How does religious affiliation affect voting patterns?

People with strong religious beliefs are more likely to vote than those with minimal ties to religious communities. 

Catholics and Jews tend to vote in extremely high numbers, and are more likely to vote for Democratic Party candidates. In recent elections, most Protestants have typically voted for Republican candidates.


How do voting patterns differ between low-income and high-income people?

While most middle class Americans tend to vote for Republican candidates, especially outside of urban areas along the east and west coasts, lower-income Americans typically vote for Democratic candidates. Among upper-income Americans voting patterns are split between the two parties.


How have racial voting patterns developed in recent decades?

In recent decades, race has become a reliable proxy for determining party affiliation. African-Americans tend to overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, as do a large majority of Hispanics, with the exception of Cuban-Americans, who tend to vote for Republican candidates. Asian-American voting patterns tend to split evenly between the parties.


voting bloc

A voting bloc is a group of voters who are motivated by a single concern, or small group of related concerns, and typically vote based almost solely upon those concerns.

As an example, entitlement recipients constitute a reliable voting bloc for those candidates who they believe will not scale back or remove entitlements.