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Integrative Studies Social Sci
ISS 225
Patricia Molloy

EXAM II UNIT II ▯ Fourth Week, Reading assignment, Molloy, PPA, Chapter 8 ▯ M-16-Public Opinion, Polls and Their Significance in a Democracy Characteristics of public opinion All governments, demo or not demo, are (to some extent) based on PUBLIC OPINION. Democracy and Public opinion  government rests on the consent of the governed and public opinion is enthroned Dictatorship and Public Opinion  even dictatorship has public opinion. STATE MONOPOLY on communications and SYSTEM OF CENSORSHIP is used to stifle ideas which may be dangerous to the regime. As Americans became more educated, they became more vocal in expressing their views, as well as the likelihood to vote rose. When the public literacy grew  the demand for newspapers and magazines grew  which in return provided more information about to government and public policy issues. De Tocqueville associated public opinion with the dangers of a “mediocre” unstable and potential “tyranny of the majority” WOODROW WILSON AND LORD BRYCE  believed that public opinion was important in democracy  Woodrow believed that it could help with international leaders  he then formed the CPI which was the COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION. CREEL COMMITTEE  (named after the chairman George Creel) the panel’s job was to solidify public opinion behind the war effort. Used all types of propaganda – pamphlets, posters, intermissions CPI also drew up a voluntary censorship code under which editors would agree to putting stories that may aid the enemy. WALTER LIPPMANS PUBLIC OPINION (1922)  during the 1920s and 30s, nearly everyone got into the act, American universities even started teaching courses on public opinion This led to the questions being asked – 1. WHO SHOULD TEACH THESE COURSES? 2. Who claims this course? Political science? Sociology? Psychology? Journalism? They all claimed it. 3. Not only could they not come up with who owned the course but they could not come up with an actual definition. The government process by DAVID TRUMAN – defined public opinion as “the opinion of the aggregate of individuals making up the public under discussion. It does not include all the opinions held by such a set of individuals, but only those relevant to the issue or situation that defines them as public” BERNARD HENNESSEY – defined public opinion as “the complex of beliefs expressed by a significant number of persons on an issue of public importance.” Many other scholars who define the public simply as, “what the public thinks about a particular issue or set of issues at any given moment.” Do polls influence public opinion or does public opinion drive the polls? CHARACTERISTICS OF PUBLIC OPINION DIRECTION – “for or against”, right or left, (liberals or conservatives) If you change it you must have a consensus. (MCCAIN—THIS WAS EXTREMELY NEGATIVE) INTENSITY – we may have very strong feelings about an issue – opinion has HIGH intensity  some people are adamantly for or against. While others mildly support or oppose them  LOW intensity. The problem with this is that it may not adequately measure the intensity of the opinion. (Divided opinion, POLARIZATION) STABILITY – opinions can be STABLE or UNSTABLE, they may be unlikely to change or they may change over night. A person can either be rooted in their values or not. PROFESSOR V.O KEY – suggested the term “VICOSITY” – opinions may change only slowly in response to new ideas and events in the political world, or they may change rapidly and unpredictably. KEY EQUATED HIGH VISCOSITY WITH STABILITY AND LOW VICOSITY WITH UNSTABILITY. Consensus – great majority of the poll respondents express the same view Divisive – when the public holds widely divergent attitudes. LATENCY— implies that sometimes public opinion is slumbering and exists only as a potential problem to public officials. Politic decision makers must anticipate public reaction  DAVID TRUMAN spoke of the theory of “potential interest groups” – which is any set shared attitudes by interest groups, can spark a particular reaction to political decisions. SALIENCE (RELEVANCE) – we say that public opinion has a high degree of salience which means that it deals with issues that concern us. AN EVEN OR POLICY IS RELEVANT TO US. In short  age, race, religion, ethnicity, and all the things that make us who we are, determine whether an issue matters to us. Presidents, public opinion and problems of war, cold war, international crises Political Socialization Family: Had been having a cultural war with family the past few years. Traditional family was one where parents taught their children about the culture. School, peers: Curriculum what is taught and who teaches what. Churches, Religious Values Media – Primary groups – sociologist Charles H. Cooley, consists of small groups of persons with whom we have frequent face-to-face contact with in our daily lives. Secondary Groups – Large and impersonal. They have cleanly defined, but, limited social purposes. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT MANY PEOPLE TODAY ARE AWARE AND CONCERNED ABOUT THE VALUES THAT FILM AND TV INDUSTRIES TRANSMIT, PARTICULARLY TO CHILDREN. Pearl Harbor changed everything. Last time congress declared war. Measuring Public Opinion • Public opinion by nature is plural. (there are many different publics and so many different opinions that people can have) • The problem on how to measure peoples opinion is not new – if you want to win an election you need to know what is going on in peoples minds. • These steps were created – 1. construct questions to be asked (special attention has to focused on avoiding questions that could create an issue) (bad phrasing) 2. Select the sample. (it is impossible to interview every American, if you think you can, good luck bud) (RANDOM SAMPLE—gives each potential voter or adult the same opportunity. Or being selected for an interview. STRATIFIED SAMPLE—based on a census data that provides the number of area residents and their locations, EXIT POLLS—pollsters interview voters after they cast their ballots most voters do not want to be questioned. TRACKING POLLS – since 1992 presidential election—they enable candidates to monitor short term political developments and to assess the impact of campaign strategy on race) *first polling organization  American institute of public opinion (Gallup Poll) Leaders and Public Opinion Followers – • The question of who has power and how it should be exercised still divides elite theorists and pluralist • Elite Theorist  Wright Mills, have argued that the power elite dominate society. Such as its communication systems, and that the masses are simply following. • Pluralist reject that. They say many sets of leaders in society and their interest groups have access public officials. They have a real opportunity to influence public policy) • Those who believe in a republican government  are inclined to view leaders differently from those that subscribe to “participatory government” theories. • Public opinion polls show that the political preferences of Americans often are not translated to law.. • EXAMPLES INCLUDE. Term limits and the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) Who are the media? Mass Media  means the communication, broadly defined, “the media” traditionally includes newspapers, magazines, books (print media) and TV, movies, and radio (electronic media) *new media—online media. Private ownership  profits are necessary to success and to make a profit, “customers” must be satisfied. 1. AMERICAN PRINT MEDIA • first newspapers – colonial era – when colonists soon realized the importance of free press • Anti-federalists demanded an amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech. • National Gazette – JEFFERSON • Federalist and Republican newspapers were fiercely partisan. • Frank Luther Mott  the dark age of the partisan press – extended from Washington thorough Andrew Jackson. • PENNY PRESS – helped weaken party influence on newspaper editorial content, as the party organizations grew stronger they no longer felt the need to rely on the press, they established the GPO (Government Printing Office) – which was responsible for all government printing, presidential and congressional subsides to partisan newspapers was a matter of history. • AFTER THE CIVIL WAR – THE PRESS BECAME MORE INDEPENDENT  Horace Greely’s “New York Tribune” – this was a “new breed of newspapers” – still one-sided editions. • Attraction – sensational and scandalous news. • GREAT CHANGES IN JOURNALISM  invention of the telegraph and the advent of wire services. Associated press could not slant its stories when it had both republican and democratic newspapers as clients. “Playing it straight” – norm in reporting and the era of objective journalism was born. • Tech changes – telephone, high speed presses and cheaper paper prices made possible the era of the mass circulation metropolitan daily. 2. BROADCAST MEDIA • 1920’s w/ starchy sound crystals sets and headphone- some 80 years later, we had FM and stereophonic reception. • “FIRESIDE CHAT”  assuring the nation is well – ROOSEVELT. (great depression) • TV is the product of post – world war II Era, and has changed American culture • NOTED : BROADCASTING IS NOT AS FULLY PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT AS IN THE PRINT PRESS. • Communications Act of 1934  the FCC charged with responsibility of regulating broadcasting in the “public interest” convenience and necessity. • Equal Time Rule  Requires that all stations that sell their airtime to a candidate for public office must offer to sell it to his or her opponents too. • Right Of Rebuttal  the target of the attack must be given the opportunity to respond. ▯ T-17-Propaganda Techniques, Sound Bites and Video Bites in the TV Age ▯ W-18-The Role of Television Debates – Media Bias Problems ▯ Th-19-Social Media, Blogs and Other “New Entrants” in Presidential Politics ▯ ▯ Fifth Week: Reading assignment, Molloy, PPA, Chapter 4 ▯ M-23 The Powers and Roles of the President; ▯ Presidential Power and Authority A. Six major roles a. President is thechief executive he must see and help carry out all laws. b. Chief Legislature- most legislation starts in white house. c. Message power- they can recommend things for congress to do. d. Veto power - if congress passes a law they don’t like they can veto it. e. Lead
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