Exam 3 Study Guide

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Exam 3 Study Guide

Covering chapters 6-8 with information on political parties, interest groups, individual participation in government and local government.

Study Guide
Texas A&M University
Pols 207 - State & Local Goverment

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POLS 207 1st Edition Exam 2 Study Guide: Lectures: 12 - 17 The Individual in Democratic Government Principles of Democracy = Free and Fair Elections, Freedom of speech and Freedom of the press. Public Participation in Politics: A Hierarchy of Influence - Most people are non-participants – over 60% o Due to traditionalistic political culture - 10-60% of the population are voting members o % Depends on the election  Highest participation in Presidential elections - 20-50% in Western States o Direct democracy through initiatives and referendums that are mainly present in the Western states (i.e. California) - 3-20% attend public meetings - Protester numbers are uncertain but they are small! - Less than 1% run for office Forms of Public Participation - Voting - Talking about politics - Organizations - Attending public meetings - Contributions (donations) - Communicating with Representatives - Campaigning - Intimating and repealing law o Initiative and referendum - Serving public office Difficulties in Scientific Study - Self-reported information o May not be reliable – therefore cannot be valid. - Reliability and Validity o Improve this by maximizing cases and reaching more people. - Bias in response o Bias is often non-response Survey Research and Polling The American Voter was published in 1960 and continues to influence the way we think about mass attitudes and behavior. - Studied the 1952 and 1956 Presidential Elections and discussed how class coalitions led to party affiliation. - Led to the National Election Study (NES), still drives the research of political scientists in voting behavior. o Findings:  Different layers of the American public  Attentive & Inattentive  Differences between elite and non-elite  Elite are constrained  However, the non-elite are not and therefore the elite can manipulate their thinking. - Most people vote because they believe it is their CIVIC DUTY. How do we measure public opinion? 1)Question Wording a. Bad questions lead to bad results 2)Sampling a. Accurate sampling is necessary! b. Poor types of sampling: straw polls, non-stratified sampling and most non- probability sampling methods. c. 1200-1600 respondents for a good sample 3)Contacting Respondents a. Method of contact is important b. Avoid selection bias i. Such as when the Literary Digest predicted a loss for FDR because they only interviewed their readers who had phones – at the time this meant you were wealthy. Shortcomings of Polling 1)Sampling Error a. Careful selection reduces this error b. Especially important in close races 2)Limited Respondent Options a. Need broad options or the results will be useless b. 5-7 options is good 3)Lack of Information a. Answer is invalid if the respondent does not have the necessary information to answer. 4)Intensity a. Polls do not measure intensity of response/feeling well. b. Learn someone’s position but not how strong this is. 5)Elitism a. Deliberative polls have been accused of elite bias. i. These polls provide you with the information before asking the question, therefore affecting your response. Participation - Uncommon o 50-60% vote - Participants are not representative of ...

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