Public Opinion Now Chapter 6
Political Socialization • We start our public opinion as youngsters and continue it through adulthood. • This is known as political socialization. • This is done by what side we take on issues, evaluate candidates, and opinions on policies. Also if you are involved in politics. • Family and school have the strongest influence.
Agents of Socialization • Agents of socialization: individuals, organizations, and institutions that facilitate the acquisitions of political views. • Families: • Children of activists are taught to be involved in community. • Others might learn to boycott products. • Family discussions
Media’s Role • Media imprints politics on all of us. • Dora, Barney, Sesame Street- teach racial diversity. • American Idol and Biggest Loser incorporate voting. • The media reinforces core democratic values. • Facebook as well is involved in politics. • Media also helps determine National Agenda • TV shows are bias as well.
School • Schools teach children to be involved in the democratic process. • Children are taught to be patriotic. Ex: The pledge • American Heroes • Education level determines political involvement.
Religion • Some people use this as a defining factor. • 2008 poll showed Whites that went to church reg. favored McCain over Obama 65% to 28% • 2004 63% of church reg. fav. Bush over Kerry to 37%. • 2000 54% fav. Bush over 37% Gore. • Republican party is strong with Protestants less with Catholics, who general Democrats.
Religion • Africans Americans that go to church favor Democrat. • See table on pg. 217
Peers/ Political Leaders • Friends let us know what is going on in the political spectrum and tell us how a certain candidate may favor us. • The awards, honors, or phrases a leader has is a way to have an impact on us. • Axis of Evil, Nobel Prize, the squawk
Race and Ethnicity • 2008 poll • Whites = McCain 55% • Africans= Obama 95% • Latinos= Obama 67% • Asians= Obama 66% • See chart on pg.218
Ethnicity • A.A youth are more likely to vote these days, and be active in political groups • Asians are more active in their communities and willing to help their community solve problems • Young Latinos least likely to participate in community or politics.
Gender • Gender Gap: the measurable difference in the way women and men vote for candidates and in the way they view political issues. • This was first noticed by Eleanor Smeal form NOW in the 1980 Presidential election. She noticed women favored Carter. • Women are more likely to favor Democrats. • For voting patterns: Women in all age groups except 25 are more likely to vote than their male counterparts. • What this means is no candidate can ignore the gender gap.
Gender/Age • Men are more likely to vote, persuade others to vote, donate money to campaigns than women are. • Women are more likely to be community activists, volunteer, and try to solve problems with neighbors. • Generational effect: the impact of an important external event in shaping the views of a generation. Ex: Great Depression, 9/11, and age of candidate.
Geographic Region • Geographical Differences started during the foundation of our nation between north and south: slave issue • North was Republican and South was Democratic. • This change when the civil rights movement occurred • See pg 222 for Religion.
Measuring Public Opinion • Public Opinion: the publics expressed views about an issue at a specific point in time. • Public Opinion and Ideology are linked because ideology is the prism through which people view political issues. • It started with the founding fathers and The Federalist Papers. Those were to influence public opinion. • This can be measured by people protesting, or writings in a newspaper, or through a public opinion poll.
Public Opinion Polls • Walter Lippmann stressed the importance of these polls along with value of measuring accurately. • Straw Poll: a poll conducted unscientific manner to predict election outcomes. • First was FDR vs. Alfred Landon done by Literary Digest. • The poll favored Alfred Landon but FDR won in a landslide. • Error occurred because they only polled subscribers to the magazine and not a larger population • This poll lead George Gallup to make a poll. • Truman
How Polls are conducted • The group has to figure out target population. • Ex: Neighbor running for election. The poll must keep narrowing down to get the best results.
Sampling • Random Sampling: a scientific method of selection for a poll in which each member of the population has an equal chance at being include in the sample. • This helps make the poll not skewed so that one component of the population is not over rep.
Sampling Cont.. • Quota Sample: a method by which pollsters structure a sample so that it is representative of the characteristics of the target population. • Stratified Sampling: a process of random sampling in which the national population is divided into fourths and certain areas with in theses regions are selected as representatives of the national population • This type of poll is the most widely used.
Sampling Error • Most national polling samples range from 1,000 to 1,500 people. • Key is to the sample is to accurately reflect the population. • Time of day is everything. • Sampling Error (margin error): a statistical calculation of the difference in results between a poll of randomly drawn sample and the entire population. • Most polls have a 3% + -
Types of Polls • Tracking Polls: Polls that measure changes in public opinion over the course of days, weeks, or months by repeatedly asking respondents the same questions and measuring their responses. • Push Polls: A special type of poll that both provides information to campaigns about the candidates strengths and weaknesses and attempts to skew the public opinion. • Exit Polls: Polls conducted a polling place on Election Day to determine the winner of an election before the polls are closed.
Most important Problem • At the present time it is the Economy and has been since April 2008. • Until Nov. 2007 it was the war in Iraq until it changed to the economy. • April 2008 poll showed that 15% of Americans satisfied with the state of the nation and 83% were dissatisfied.
Why is public opinion important • Even though its measuring the institutions rather than individuals, individuals can use this to measure how well they performed. • Second it measures the trust of the government. If people trust the government they are more willing to help out the government meet the needs of the people.
Why is public opinion important • People trust in the government handling international affairs has declined steadily since 9/11. • Peoples trust in the government handling domestic affairs has declined steadily ever since Hurricane Katrina. • The same goes for trust in the executive branch. The only time the number was lower was the height of the Watergate scandal. • It should be noted that the Judicial branch tends to score higher on the trust factors than the other two branches. • Also when the Legislative Branch’s trust level is high than the Executive branch is low and vice versa.