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FSU POS 1041 - POS Final Exam Study Guide

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POS Final Exam Study Guide*All key terms from the review sheet provided by Professor Jackson are highlighted*CHAPTER 10 (Public Opinion)-Public opinion: Collected attitudes of citizens (what people “think”); public opinion—elected officials—public policy as a role in a representative democracy; Confounding problems include “multiple publics”, unstable and shifting opinions among the people, and political ignorance by the public-Opinions measured through “scientific” polling (origins in the 1930s); Sampling Theory—sample of individuals selected by chance from any population is “representative” of that population with a margin of error; sampling accuracy—how well it represents-Sampling accuracy depends upon:1) How the sample was selected—pure, random sample is the best option; Literary Digest failurein 1936 revealed flawed polling tactics; never put faith in self-selected listener opinion polls (SLOP survey results)2) Sample size—the larger the sample (if random), the greater the accuracy of the results; sampling error/margin of error is inversely related to sample size; confidence interval incorporates margin of error (95% confidence interval with Obama approval ratings)-Curves: normal, bell-shaped curves show average response focused in the middle; skewed curves show one side taller than the other; bi-modal curves show two frequently occurring responses with two humps-Problems/limitations with polling (even with large samples):1) Problems with respondents—non-attitudes and door step opinions creates the illusion of saliency 2) Problems with the survey/poll itself; question/wording might be confusing; leading questions and push polling leads people to give a certain answer or response -“Wag the Dog” Scenario: efforts to manipulate public opinion; staging attacks on the country, engaging in war actions draw attention away from scandals at home and poor opinions of a leader’s actions domestically; effort to distract the public from other issues; public opinion existed before the 1930s when polling data and polls originated -Ginsberg’s “The Captive Public” argues that polling has transformed public opinion:1) No longer a product of efforts of concerned individuals 2) Presentation through attitudes rather than behaviors3) Constrained responses rather than spontaneous assertions-Public has somehow lost control over public opinion in recent years-Fiorina: Culture War?: argues most Americans are not bitterly and deeply divided on issues, there is no raging culture war, issues have not displaced economic concerns, Americans are closely divided, and are not deeply divided-Many are ambivalent and uncertain about potentially divisive issues; most are moderate in their views and tolerant in manner; there is little evidence that our ideological or policy positions are more polarized today than 20-30 years ago with economic issues remaining at the forefront-Political/party leaders are more polarized, leading to the perception of deep divisions-Scenario 1: Close elections and deeply divided electorate where greatest number of voters are either on the far left or far right-Scenario 2: Close elections but not deeply divided electorate where greatest number of voters are concentrated in the middle, forming a moderate majority; Fiorina claims this is the correct assertion of today’s public -Abortion conflict: majority of people consistently respond—legal, but only under certain circumstances (huge majorities support legality of abortion in cases of rape, conflicts to the woman’s health, and birth defects); extreme pro-life and pro-choice lobby are out of step with most Americans for both men and women-Homosexuality conflict: increasing belief in civil rights for gays; younger Americans more tolerant and accepting; gay rights typically a minor issue for most AmericansCHAPTER 11 (Voting, Campaigns, and Elections)-Voter Turnout: influence on socio demographics like—education, income, age, gender (women more likely to vote), marriage status, race/ethnicity, mobility, homeownership -Psychological AttitudesPolitical interest or concern over the outcome of an electionPolitical efficacy (external) or the thinking that “public officials don’t care what people like me think”; internal efficacy focuses on the individual’s ability to follow the politics of an election (long term attitudes)Civic duty to one’s country/community; party identification (ID) as an attitude instead of a behavior measured using survey questions-Legal Environment: Registration laws between states, countries; 70% of potentially eligible citizens are registered to vote; 90% of those registered actually turn out to vote-Campaign Environment: State status as a swing or battleground territory; if a state has Election Day registration, voter turnout is generally higher in each case-Why do people vote?They have the resources and the skills to do soThey have the interest to do soThey were asked to vote by someone else-Rationality of votingRational choice/economics perspective: If the benefits of an activity outweigh the costs, then the person will vote; the free rider problem can reap the collective benefits without bearing the costs“Rational” actor discounts the collective benefits by probability that his/her one vote will make the difference in the election outcome; if probability exceeds the costs, the person will vote; however, the result is that it is irrational to vote, as one vote will likely not make a huge differenceMany vote after receiving the psychological benefits (civic duty…etc.) from participatingin an election-U.S. voter turnout over past 40 years:“Puzzle of Participation”: 1960 to 1996 saw education levels rise and difficulties with voter registration decrease; outcome would theoretically be that voter turnout increased over that period of time, but it actually decreasedDeclines in “political correctedness” influence by wars and scandals in politics; declines also in “social correctedness” or the loss of social capitalDeclines in political mobilization through candidate-centered campaigns; more voting ineligibles as a % of voting age population (mostly non-citizens and ex-felons who cannot vote)-Voter turnout is lower in the U.S. due to a different legal environment with registration disparities; differences in political party environment with only two main parties and room for only the winning candidate in the governmental system; more elections


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