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2012-12-05 Public Opinion.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
Political Science 2244E
Professor
P Ferguson
Semester
Fall

Description
Public Opinion December 5, 2012 Political Socialization -political socialization: process of personal and background traits influencing views about politics and government -family (weaker) -weaker in political orientation: lack of communication with parents, high divorce rates make children unlikely to vote with parents, democratization of information (easy access to news), dual-income families (de-nuclearization of families) -Genetics – CAUTION -relationship between political viewpoints and genetics: BULLSHIT -people don’t understand how we have billions of combinations in our genes (e.g. people with this genetic marker voted and people with another genetic marker didn’t vote – meaningless) -correlation: relationship between two things; two things happening at the same thing -causation: one thing causes another thing -correlation does not mean causation* -Groups (voluntary and non-voluntary) -Religion (social > non-social) -e.g. Catholicmight affect your views on abortion, but might not affect your views on tax cuts -Gender -Education -increase participation (voting, lobby, etc.) -educated people more likely to vote for -Political Conditions -big events you experience in your life affect your political views -e.g. 2008 global recessionyou will act in different ways in politics and finance -Depression, WWII, 9/11, 08 recession -affects how people view security, finance, etc. The Gender Gap -Men increasingly Republican since the mid-1960s -men concerned more about broad economic issues; women concerned more about household finance -Women increasingly identify with Democrats -Reflects attitudinal differences – examples: -Role/size of government -men: government should be smaller and take on smaller things -women: government should be bigger and play a bigger role in people’s lives -gun control -men: less gun control -women: more gun control -social programs/safety net -men: less safety net -women: want safety net -rights (gender, sex, etc.) -Huge electoral/political issue -importance of issues: -women care more about healthcare, economy and jobs, Iraq war, social security, and women’s issues than men do Age Gap? -Are the youth different than the old? -Do they vote less? (18% 08, 19% 12) -If so, why? -Dissatisfaction, time, interests, etc. -Attitudes differ – especially on right issues -e.g. even conservative youth more likely to support gay marriage than their counterparts in their 30s -Do differences wash out over time – why? -it will wash out -life experiences? -easy to be more liberal when you have less to risk/lose -young people more likely to be liberal and older people more likely to be conservative -social issues over time, we become more progressive; things that divided progressives and liberals have changed a lot -e.g. racism – back then, people said segregation is good; today, people say it’s bad -events during “coming of age” endure -e.g. Depression affect political outlook and behaviour -huge youth vote brought Obama the swing states -youth: younger than 30 -minorities growth rate higher than whites -go to church less = support for Democrats increase Cleavages in Public Opinion -things/issues that divide public/voters -traditional cleavages: -social class, race and ethnicity, religion -other cleavages: -income, occupation, gender, sexual orientation -cleavages reinforce, crosscut -think about a room full of people in groups -income + profession + education = reinforce -more education you have = more money you earn (generally) -religion (education or income) = crosscut -religion and education/religion and income = not necessarily connected Social Class -social-class: ill-defined -uncomfortable? -recognized in specific cases: truck drivers and investment bankers -you can see some social class differences -less important in the U.S. than in Europe -the extent has declined in both places -parties in U.S. and Europe lean heavily towards class -back then, Democrats: lower-income voters -now, it’s flipped; low-income whites more likely to vote Republicans Religion -political barriers -JFK
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