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Exam 2 Review

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Political Science
POLI 2051
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Exam 2 ReviewChapter 6 Public OpinionPublic opinion is the collected attitudes of citizens on a given issue or question Public opinion is important because in a democracy there must be some link between what the public thinks and what the government does The nature of this link can vary greatly Who is most interested in Public OpinionoElected officials are interested in public opinion because it may influence government decision making Academics are interested in public opinion to seek to understand why people behave the way they do The people are interested in public opinion because it may be motivating to become active in politics Public opinion comes from political socialization a complex process through which individuals become aware of politics learn political facts and form political values Socialization occurs throughout our lives We learn these things over time oGenerational effects are learned by a specific age group uniquely affected by a set of historical events such as Vietnam or the Great Depression oLife cycle effects are learned political views that are influenced by maturation oPeriod effects are learned among everyone due to historical events for example everyone wanted to spend less money on defense after the Cold War There are multiple agents or influences of socialization The agents of socialization are family your parents have influence on your partisanship school teaches you to respect authority and how to be a good citizen community and peers peer pressures of political parties mass media interest groups and others Our behavior could also be based on our biologyoNature vs NurtureIn early days public opinion had to be guessed but in modern day we use polls to determine public opinion oPolls work through the statistical theory of sampling which means a sample of individuals selected by chance of any population are representative of that population oThe accuracy of a poll is determined through the way the sample is selected the size of the sample and the way the survey is put together or how the question is worded welfare vs assisting the poor For example is it a leading question is there social desirability is the question clear is more than one question being asked also known as a doublebarreled question and does the question require knowledge that the person does not have Also question ordering is considered in survey responses on a question about whether reporters should be able to report the news from other countries as they see fit Polls can affect opinions and the political processes oThe bandwagon effect causes people to adopt an opinion when they see a poll of something doing so well oThe underdog effect is the realization that one side does not stand a chance against another widely favored side so people tend to pick the widely favored oPolls of public opinion show politicians how to act for example the affordable care act oPolls affect media coverage by notifying the media of what the people find important oElection results can be affected by polls Third party candidates are not included in the democraticrepublican debate because this can effect polls Class SurveyStudents identify themselves as more Republican than DemocraticStudents identify their parents as more extreme in terms of party identification than themselves Political socialization in students is shown by the students party identification being strongly correlated with parent party identification Women are more influenced by parents than men
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