• Citizens’attitudes about political issues, personalities, institutions, and events
• Where does it come from?
o Self-interest- If you have a lot of money, you probably don’t want there to be taxes because it
will not be in your self interest
o Socialization- The influences that we have from various institutions such as government; info we
get from others such as families and schools. Help us to integrate into society; what are societal
norms? Who you are exposed to can influence how your attitude is.
o Ideology- Can influence your position on different issues; people’s ideologies are not always
consistent. You can be pro-life but want to put someone on death row.
• Socialization: Induction of individuals into the political culture; learning the values and beliefs that
underlie the political system
• Your peers are very strong influences on your opinions
• Agents of socialization
o Social groups
o Political conditions- Ex. The Great Depression
• Ideology: Underlying orientations, ideas, and beliefs through which we interpret politics
o Liberal: Supports political and social reform, governmental intervention in the economy,
expansion of social services, more benefits for poor, minorities and women, concern for
consumers and environment
Moving forward, progressive, not afraid of change
Government is a force of good and can protect your rights
o Conservative: Supports status quo, large government is a threat to liberty, prefer private solutions
Adverse to change
Things are great the way they are and we need to keep them that way
o MostAmericans are in the middle of liberal and conservative. However, the people are the ends
are the loudest because they are the ones who really care
• We interpret political events, proposals, and individuals through the lens of our ideology
• How are opinions formed?
o Knowledge o Opinion leaders- Could be the leaders of your political party, priest, etc. You respect them in
some way so you believe that they have a better grasp on the situation than you
o Interest groups- People who get info in the mail of what’s going on in Washington, etc.
o People use shortcuts to cut down the costs of knowledge
o Ideology doesn’t always closely align with complex problems
Ex. Farm subsidies
o What is wrong with Americans not knowing?
Interests- They won’t be represented
• If you don’t know what’s going on, it’s easy to be biased