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Lecture 22

GVPT 170 Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Critical Role

Government and Politics
Course Code
GVPT 170
Patrick Wohlfarth

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American Government: Ideology and Election Campaigns
Issue Evolution
o How issues become “structured” along a party-driven, left-right dimension.
o Issues are initially cross-cutting until critical moments:
Race and civil rights policy pre-Goldwater
Critical role of politicians and élites
Public responds to élite cues
o Issue dimensions are the structure of party politics
“One plus residue” =
Contrary perspective: Politicians and élites respond to changes in public
To some degree, both may be correct
Operational vs. Symbolic Ideology
o Operational Ideology: What another may call someone based on their policy
o Symbolic Ideology: The label that one attaches to one’s politics.
o The macro-level public is predominantly symbolically conservative, but
operationally liberal.
Example: “conflicted conservatives” who attach the label of ‘conservative’
to themselves, but have ‘liberal’ policy ideals
Explanation: The term ‘liberal’ has a negative connotation and so people
are less likely to call themselves liberals even if their beliefs match up
with what is known as ‘liberalism.’
Tides of Consent, Chapter 4
o Presidential election campaigns and public opinion
E.g., reelection bids vs. open seats, nomination conventions, debates, etc.
o Three perspectives:
Press daily observation
Advertising and professional strategy all about image
Political science state of the country and “facts”
o Do campaigns matter?
Most presidential elections can be reliably predicted at the start of
campaign season (based on the state of the country or “the facts”)
Yet public opinion moves systematically during general election
o Campaigns = Information Flow
Public opinion moves in direction of candidate supported by “the facts.”
Previously inattentive citizens begin to pay attention.
Campaigns are important learning tools.
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