The Challenge of Democracy CHAPTER 5 Public Opinion

The Challenge of Democracy CHAPTER 5 Public Opinion

The Challenge of Democracy CHAPTER 5 Public Opinion and Political Socialization LEARNING OUTCOMES 1. Distinguish the various roles played by public opinion in majoritarian and pluralist democracy. 2. Critique polling as a method for measuring public opinion

and identify skewed, bimodal, and normal distributions of opinion. 3. Explain the influence of the agents of early socialization family, school, community, and peerson political learning. 4. Compare and contrast the effects of education, income, region, race, ethnicity, religion, and gender on public opinion . 5. Define the concept of ideology, describe the liberal conservative continuum, and assess the influence of ideology on public opinion. 6. Assess the impact of knowledge, self-interest, and leadership on political opinions. Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

PUBLIC OPINION Characteristics of Public Opinion Publics attitude can vary over time Gay rights Public opinion places boundaries Gay marriage Citizens willing to register opinions Even on matters outside their own experience Government tends to respond to public opinion

Gay Americans in military Government sometimes does not respond public Employment Nondiscrimination Act Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. to HOMOSEXUALITY IN GLOBAL POLITICS

Fifteen countries allow samesex marriage; most of them have only done so for a few years. ? Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. Critical Thinking

Question PUBLIC OPINION AND THE MODELS OF DEMOCRACY Opinion Polling Began in 1930s Majoritarian Model Government should do what a majority of public wants Americans prefer this model Pluralist Model Public is uninformed and ambivalent Government should rely on politically-engaged

groups Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. THE DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC OPINION Measuring the Distribution of Public Opinion Statistical theory of sampling Attitudes, beliefs, and sociological characteristics reflect the whole population Accuracy determined by three factors How sample is selected Size of sample

Amount of variation in population Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. STOP THE PRESSES! OOPS, TOO LATE . . . The Chicago Daily Tribune believed the polls and proclaimed Deweys victory before the votes were counted. Here, the victorious

Truman triumphantly displays the most embarrassing headline in American politics. Source: Bettmann/Corbis Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. THE DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC OPINION Shape of the Distribution Skewed An asymmetrical distribution

Bimodal Divided almost evenly Normal Single most frequent response Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. THREE DISTRIBUTIONS OF OPINION Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

THE DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC OPINION Stability of the Distribution Stable distribution Little change over time Ideological and partisan orientations Changes can occur within subgroups Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. ARE YOUNG PEOPLE MORE LIBERAL THAN THEIR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS?

Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION Political Socialization How individuals become aware of politics The Agents of Early Socialization Primacy principle Structuring principle Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION

The Agents of Early Socialization Family Earliest political memories linked to family Children learn party identification Transmission model of partisanship School Elementary: Norms of behavior, decision making High School: Greater awareness of political process College: Question authority and dominant political values Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION The Agents of Early Socialization Community and Peers Homogeneous communities: strong pressure to conform Continuing Socialization Peer groups assume greater importance Media is a socialization agent People gain perspective as they get older Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. SOCIAL GROUPS AND

POLITICAL VALUES American National Election Study (2012) Analyzes freedom-versus-order or freedom-versusequality dimensions Most people inclined to value freedom over order or equality Differences emerge when respondents grouped by socioeconomic factors Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. SOCIAL GROUPS AND POLITICAL VALUES Education

Higher education promotes tolerance of unpopular opinions College-educated individuals tend to choose freedom over order and equality Higher-educated individuals oppose government action to reduce income inequality Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. SOCIAL GROUPS AND POLITICAL VALUES Income Most Americans see themselves as middle class

Higher income individuals favor freedom Region Per capita income of various regions has equalized Solid South no longer solidly Democratic Social issues more pronounced difference than other issues Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. SOCIAL GROUPS AND POLITICAL VALUES Ethnicity and Race

European immigrants Early 20 th century: part of coalition of Democratic voters African Americans Starting with Civil War, fought for political rights, supported Democrats Latinos Largest minority group in U.S. today Asians Clear preference for Democrats

Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. SOCIAL GROUPS AND POLITICAL VALUES Ethnicity and Race Minority groups Differ from whites on issues pertaining to equality Racial minorities have low socioeconomic status Minorities have been targets of prejudice and discrimination Likely to favor government action to improve economic opportunities Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

SOCIAL GROUPS AND POLITICAL VALUES Religion Protestant (48%) Catholic (22%) Unaffiliated (20%) Jewish (<2%) Muslim (<1%) Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. SOCIAL GROUPS AND

POLITICAL VALUES Gender Women support Gay marriage Environmental policies Social programs Democratic party Men support Death penalty Going to war Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

FROM VALUES TO IDEOLOGY The Quality of Ideological Thinking in Public Opinion People cant decide if liberal or conservative Two themes Liberals = change; Conservatives = tradition Liberals = intervention to promote economic equality; Conservatives = less government intervention, more individual freedom in economic activities One trades freedom for equality The other trades freedom for order

Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. FROM VALUES TO IDEOLOGY Ideological Types in the United States Liberals favor freedom over order and equality over freedom Conservatives favor freedom over equality and order over freedom Libertarians favor freedom over both equality and order Communitarians favor order and equality over freedom

Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. FROM VALUES TO IDEOLOGY Ideological Types in the United States Preferences depend on what action targets Social group differences Blacks and Hispanics more likely than whites to be Liberal Men more likely than women to be Libertarian People with higher education tend to be Libertarian High school educated split between Liberal and Conservative Poor classified as Liberal Affluent classified as Libertarian

Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. RESPONDENTS CLASSIFIED BY IDEOLOGICAL TENDENCIES Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. FORMING POLITICAL OPINIONS Political Knowledge Internet allows public to be more competent on political affairs Less knowledge on some matters

Undocumented immigrants Foreign-born residents Misinformed on some issues Backfire effect Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. FORMING POLITICAL OPINIONS Costs, Benefits, and Cues Self-interest principle Sometimes cant determine personal costs/benefits Foreign policy

Sociotropic responses Heuristics Political party labels Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. FORMING POLITICAL OPINIONS Political Leadership Opinion molded by political leaders Politicians act as cue givers Issue framing Spin

Spin doctors Media enhances political influence Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. THE DOOR-TO-DOOR FIGHT FOR VOTES IN VIRGINIA Click picture to view video Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. VIDEO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What shapes your support for a candidate? Does personal contact matter? 2. Do you share your opinions with political pollsters? Why or why not? 3. How does polling help shape a candidates message? What role does issue framing play in polling? Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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