[ToC] 1,2.pdf

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Government and Politics
GVPT 170
Patrick Wohlfarth

[ToC] 1,2 Saturday,November 16,2013 7:19 PM lecture The Micro vs.Macro Perspective Micro Public Opinion: -ask individuals about their opinion • Few citizens hold consistent political opinions & ideologies • Few citizens have substantial factual knowledge about politics or government • Many citizens don’t care about many issues • if you ask them questions you are asking question they are not really thinking about- the answer might not be meaningful The Public’s Political ‘Knowledge’ -Sources: Michael X.Delli Carpini and Scot Keeter,What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters (1996) & 2004 American National Election Study 84%–Cheney as VP (2004) 73%–Governor of their home state (1989) 60%–majority party in the Senate (2004) 58%–president appoints federal judges (1992) 52%–two U.S.senators per state (1978) 46%–first ten amendments as the Bill of Rights (1989) 30%–U.S.representatives serve two year terms (1978) 28%–Rehnquist as Chief Justice of Supreme Court (2004) 20%–name two First Amendment rights (1989) 2%–two Fifth Amendment rights (1989) • if we think about public opinion at a micro level-they don’t know much • also,they are not consistent • if they haven't thought about it,their answers will be random Does an uninformed public matter? • Gives the government leeway to respond to more narrow interests in some specific policy areas • Allows political leaders to compete to “inform”the public • campaign excuse • However,Macro (i.e.,aggregate) public opinion behaves reasonably -we see consistency,gradual/meaningful changes all the time • Cancels out individual noise,errors,etc. • aka aggregation gain-mathematical • Opinion leadership • aggregate-people pay less attention adopt the opinion from those who pays more attention • co-worker,neighbor,people whose dog yours plays with Uninformed Citizens can Make Reasonable Choices -focus on the overall public,public opinion is meaningful • Aggregation reduces “noise”and random error • Citizens use “online”processing to update opinions -logic: citizens constantly receive information from the political world in different forms. individual bits of information they encounter regularly in a daily,rolling basis. • Observe specific facts • E.g.,new information,events,etc. • Update evaluations • Discard specific facts • you discard the fact because you don't need the facts anymore (politics have nothing to do with your life) and keep your own perceptions • Thus,we know what we like/dislike even if we can’t recall why • citizens may don't know the specifics,but they have ideas. • their formed general perception that means something public opinion tends to move in a similar manner • data representation of what we called as "political ideology" • measuring liberalism Political Ideology Definition: A consistent pattern of political attitudes that stem from a core belief This core belief-drives each individual's opinion on different issue areas • One dimension or many? • Common to think about politics in general Liberal vs.Conservative terms • TENDS TO BE: liberal: more active gov intervention,spending; conservative: less gov • Since the 1930s (the New Deal),Liberal vs.Conservative defined in terms of the role of
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