POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - Interquartile Range, Toronto Sun, Standard Deviation

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Published on 21 Apr 2013
School
UTSG
Department
Political Science
Course
POL101Y1
Lecture 2: January 18/12
Where opinions come from
-Almost half of all Torontonians want services to remain constant
oAnother third want to increase spending on services
-Opinions spring from attitudes we have
-An attitude is an inclination to respond consistently to an object in ones
environment
-Attitudes are unobserved mental states
-Cognitive component
oInformation about an object
oBeliefs about the object
-Affective component
oFeelings of fondness
oLevels of intensity
-Attitudes motivate behaviour
oWho you talk to, who you sleep with, etc.
oWhether you vote, demonstrate, answer an opinion poll, write a letter
to the editor
oOpinions are overt expressions of attitudes
Not always a spectrum of views
-“valence” issues are issues in which one side of the debate is illegitimate:
oChild abuse
oDrunk driving
-There are still differences of opinion, though, in how these problems should
be solved
-Salience: issues also vary in terms of their salience
oWhat problems should the government deal with now
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oWhat issues the public is preoccupied with now
-These issues may or may not be mutually exclusive (governments can work
on more than one issue – although they can’t have too many priorities)
-Salience: is what are the biggest issues right now – what we should be
working on at the moment
-Values/core beliefs/principles are drawn from policy opinions
-Opinions come from: formative influences (parents, teacher, and mentor),
media, culture, and religion, group attachments, as well as from core-beliefs,
etc.
-contradiction and conflict may arise within: religion and culture, parent and
group attachments, belief in individualism or personal responsibility and
belied in equality,
Belief Systems
Consistent and structured:
-only a few people have internally consistent opinions
-most people have loosely structured sets of attitudes
-its common/normal to feel ambivalent or conflicted
Implications for textbook
-textbook discusses values and especially “Canadian values”
osure, there are values, but those values are not always – or not
consistently applied
-Values can also be hard to measure. Many of those values can be hard to
disagree with...
-forcing people to make trade-offs is better, but may have limited applicability
Socialization
Opinion foundations: how we resolve these opinion conflicts
-childhood learning influences political outlook
o“primary tendency” – what is learned first is lodged most firmly in mind
-Early learning structures later learning
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oLater learning reinforces early influences
Family: most important influence:
-Political loyalties
oReasons come later
-Political activism
-Also basic orientations that have political significance:
oEgalitarianism
oIndividualism
oPersonal freedom
Schools:
-Reflect dominant values of community
-Teach fables of history
-Expressions of patriotism (if any) and cultural holidays
Women and politics: Women’s relative lack of interest and attention to politics is
trace-able to formative stages
Reinforcements:
-Peers: belong to like-minded groups
-Leaders: follow leaders you trust; that you feel a bong of commonality with
-Media: tune-in to shows that do not violate view of reality
-Canadian media: Canada has some independent media
oFew Canadian families subscribe to both the Toronto Sun and Globe
and Mail
oGovernment owned CBC is a major media outlet
oMassive change in media universe
-Sources of news:
oMany Canadians get their news from American sources
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