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Public Opinion. Wilson 7A. Objective Questions. Who Governs?. To What Ends?. How does public opinion in America today vary by race, gender, and other differences? What is political ideology, and how does it affect political behavior and influence public policy?.
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Public Opinion Wilson 7A
Objective Questions Who Governs? To What Ends? • How does public opinion in America today vary by race, gender, and other differences? • What is political ideology, and how does it affect political behavior and influence public policy? • What role did the Framers of the Constitution think public opinion should play in American democracy? • When, if ever, should public policies mirror majority opinion?
Political Cleavages Ideology Party Race Gender
Preamble Goals Six listed Big picture • Perfect union • Justice • Domestic tranquility • Common defense • General welfare • Liberty • Represent people’s wants • Make day-to-day choices • Often not the same • Public ignorance • Common values
Public Opinion • How people feel or think about particular things • Systematically measured • 1900 – corporations and marketers • 1940 – political scientists • Vague knowledge • Limited information • Good decisions
Political Polling • Survey public opinion • Asking good questions (what) • Ask about the right things (how) • A point in time (when) • Random sampling (who) • As a measure of the entire population • Large enough to overcome errors • Call screening • Low response • Exit polls on election day
Poll Results • Opinions differ • Saliency – how strong someone feels • Stability – volatility of opinion • Congruency – correspondence between government action and majority sentiment • Socialization – background traits • Elites – those with disproportionate power know more about politics and are more consistent
Political Socialization • Children follow parents • Younger voters more independent • Stronger in some families • More in the past • Varies with class, race, gender, religion, age • Differences in theological position • More pronounced in social issues • Men (R), Women (D) • Job experience, education • College tends to have a liberalizing effect
Free Response Using the information in the table, and your knowledge of US politics, perform the following two tasks. List 3 groups that were significant in President Clinton’s electoral coalition and explain why each was important. Describe the problems that President Clinton has in sustaining a winning coalition. What constituencies do the present two candidates have within the electorate.