Unit 2: chapters 6, 9, 10 Flashcards Preview

AP Government & Politics > Unit 2: chapters 6, 9, 10 > Flashcards

Flashcards in Unit 2: chapters 6, 9, 10 Deck (48):

political culture

an overall set of values widely shared within a society.


minority majority

the emergence of a non-caucasian majority, as compared with a white, generally anglo-saxon majority. it is predicted that, by about 2060, hispanic americans, african americans, and asian americans will together outnumber white americans.


sampling error

the level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll. the more people interviewed, the more confident one can be of the results.


random sampling

the key technique employed by sophisticated survey researchers, which operates on the principle that everyone should have an equal probability of being selected for the sample.



a relatively small proportion of people who are chosen in a survey so as to be representative of the whole.



the process of reallocating seats in the house of representatives every ten years on the basis of the results of the census.


random digit dialing

a technique used by pollsters to place telephone calls randomly to both listed and unlisted numbers when conducting a survey.


melting pot

the mixing of cultures, ideas, and peoples that has changed the american nation. the united states, with its history of immigration, has often been called a melting pot.


gender gap

a term that refers to the regular pattern by which women are more likely to be significantly less conservative than men and are more likely to support spending on social services and to oppose higher levels of military spending.



a form of political participation designed to achieve policy change through dramatic and unconventional tactics.


civil disobedience

a form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences.


political participation

all the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. the most common, but not the only, means of political participation in a democracy is voting. other means include protest and civil disobedience.


political ideology

a coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose. it helps give meaning to political events, personalities, and policies.


exit poll

public opinion surveys used by major media pollsters to predict electoral winners with speed and precision.


political specialization

according to richard dawson, "the process through which an individual acquires his [or her] particular political orientations -- his [or her] knowledge, feelings, and evaluations regarding his [or her] political world.



a valuable tool for understanding demographic changes. the constitution requires that the government conduct an "actual enumeration" of the population every ten years.



the science of population changes.


public opinion

the distribution of the population's beliefs about politics and policy issues.



national party leaders who automatically get a delegate slot at the democratic national party convention.


matching funds

contributions of up to $250 are matched from the presidential election campaign fund to candidates for the presidential nomination who qualify and agree to meet various conditions, such as limiting their overall spending.


party platform

a political party's statement of its goals and policies for the next four years. the platform is drafted prior to the party convention by a committee whose members are chosen in rough proportion to each candidate's strength. it is the best formal statement of what a party believes in.


presidential election campaign fund

money from the $3 federal income tax check-off goes into this fund, which is then distributed to qualified candidates to subsidize their presidential campaigns.


federal election campaign act

a law passed in 1974 for reforming campaign finances. the act created the federal election commission (fec), provided public financing for presidential campaign spending, required disclosure, and attempted to limit contributions.


direct mail

a high-tech method if raising money for a political cause or candidate. it involves sending information and requests for money to people whose names appear on lists of those who have supported similar views or candidates in the past.


regional primaries

a proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries to replace these electoral methods with a series of primaries held in each geographic region.


national primary

a proposal by critics of the caucuses and presidential primaries systems who would replace these electoral methods with a nationwide primary held early in the election year.



the recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention. at one time, it was considered advantageous for a state to choose its delegates late in the primary season so that it could play a decisive role. however, in recent years, voters cast in states that have held late primaries have been irrelevant given that one candidate had already sewn up the nomination early on.


527 groups

independent groups that seek to influence the political process but are not subject to contribution restrictions because they do not directly seek the election of particular candidates. their name comes from section 527 of the federal tax code, under which they are governed. in 2004, 52 individuals gave over a million dollars to such groups, and all told they spent $424m on political messages.



the official endorsement of a candidate for office by a political party. generally, success in the nomination requires momentum, money, and media attention.


selective perception

the phenomenon that people often pay the most attention to things they already agree with and interpret them according to their own predispositions.


national party convention

the supreme power within each of the parties. the convention meets every four years to nominate the party's presidential and vice-presidential candidate's and to write the party's platform.


campaign strategy

the master game plan candidates lay out to guide their electoral campaign.


political action committees (pacs)

funding vehicles created by the 1974 campaign finance reforms. a corporation, union, or some other interest group can create a pac and register it with the federal election commission (fec), which will meticulously monitor the pac's expenditures.


presidential primaries

elections in which voters in a state vote for a candidate (or delegates pledged to him or her). most delegates to the national party conventions are chosen this way.



(congressional) = a group of members of congress sharing some interest or characteristic. most are composed of members from both parties.

(state party) = a meeting of all state party leaders for selecting delegates to the national party convention. caucuses are usually organized as a pyramid.


mcgovern-fraser commission

a commission formed at the 1968 democratic convention in response to demands for reform by minority groups and others who sought better representation.


federal election commission (fec)

a six member bipartisan agency created by the federal election campaign act of 1974. the fec administers the campaign finance laws and enforces compliance with their requirements.


soft money

political contributions earmarked for party-building expenses at the grassroots level (or for generic party advertising). unlike money that goes to the campaign of a particular candidate, such party donations are not subject to contribution limits.



the legal right to vote, extended to african americans by the 15th amendment, to women by the 19th amendment, and to people over the age of 18 by the 26th amendment.


civic duty

the belief that in order to support a democratic government, a citizen should always vote.


policy voting

electoral choices that are made on the basis of the voters' policy preferences and on the basis of where the candidates stand on policy issues.


retrospective voting

a theory of voting in which voters essentially ask this simple question: "what have you done for me lately?"


electoral college

an unique american institution created by the constitution that provides for the selection of the president by electors chosen by the state parties. although the electoral college vote usually reflects a popular majority, the winner-take-all rule gives clout to big states.


mandate theory of elections.

the idea that the winning candidate has a mandate from the people to carry out his or her platforms and politics. politicians like the theory better than political scientists do.


political efficacy

the belief that one's political participation really matters -- that one's vote can actually make a difference.


initiative petition

a process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state constitution to a vote if sufficient signatures are obtained on petitions calling for such s referendum.



a state-level method of direct legislation that gives voters a chance to approve or disapprove legislation or a constitutional amendment proposed by the state legislatures.



a characterization of elections by political scientists meaning that they are almost universally accepted as a fair and free method of selecting political leaders. when legitimacy is high, as in the united states, even the losers accept the results peacefully.