Political Beliefs and Behaviors
*Slides courtesy of Mr. Young’s Learn, or Die resource
2. Part I. Political Ideologies
3. Are There Set American
• Your textbook says are the following are common
democracy, equality, individualism, competition, priv
ate business, conformity to
authority, nationalism, and idealism. Do you believe
these are true or two idealistic?
• The American Dream: The widespread belief that
individual initiative and hard work can bring
economic success, and that the United States is a land
of opportunity. Does the American Dream exist?
• Do we have equality? Is
racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, discriminatio
n getting better or worse?
4. Economics and Ideology
• Political Ideology ties in directly with economics.
• In our country we have a Capitalist System and
most people might say it is a good system.
• The basic goal of Capitalism is profit and wealth.
It is a system based in the trade of goods where
the ultimate goal is to achieve as much “capital”
or wealth as possible. In a capitalist system
companies compete with one and another for the
5. Ideology and Capitalism
• In a true capitalistic system, a government would
not regulate business in any way (Adam Smith).
What some describe as “free markets” is often
seen as a conservative ideology. There would be
no regulations on workers, environmental
laws, trade regulations, or laws against
monopolies. There would be no tariffs or taxes.
• Monopolies: large corporations or firms that
dominate an industry by eliminating (or
• In our country we have a modified Capitalist
economy. The government regulates business
and uses its authority to both influence and
6. The Political Spectrum
7. When I say liberal who
and what issues do we
• Generally favors proposals for reform, open to
new ideas for progress.
• People who have defined it (the political
terms are always changing): Al Gore, Bill and
Hillary Clinton, FDR, JFK, Mike
Dukakis, Jimmy Carter, Deval Patrick, and
• Often associated with the Democratic and
• Liberal in a classical sense (17th and 18th
century): minimize government’s role
(especially in business).
9. Central View of
• There is a belief in the positive use of government to
bring about justice and equality of opportunity.
• Use government in a positive way to protect the rights
of individuals and the right to own private property, yet
are willing to have government intervention.
• They seek protection by having government supply
health care, education, and housing.
• Often supporters of: Unions, Affirmative Action, Tax
rates that rise with income level (progressive
tax), Worker’s rights.
• The government should stray away from legislating
morals and family values.
10. Criticism of Liberalism
• Too much reliance on government to solve problems
• Government is inherently unable to solve social
• Liberal programs results in higher taxes
• Too many government restrictions hurt capitalism
• Creates more bureaucracy and results in more waste
11. When I say conservative who
and what issues do we think
• Generally favors traditional views and tending to
oppose change (retaining status quo).
• People who have defined it (the political terms
are always changing): George W. Bush, Ronald
Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, Richard
Nixon, Barry Goldwater
• Often associated with the Republican and
• Conservative in a classical sense (17th and 18th
century): limited electorate, retention of social
classes important and allows for law and order.
13. Central Views of
• There is a belief that limited government ensures
order, competitive markets, and personal opportunity.
• Pro-business – Government should not intervene with
• Opposes higher taxes, especially relative taxes (flat
tax). Everyone should pay the same percentage of tax.
• Military has a strong role in constantly protect America
from its enemies.
• Supports “Free Trade”
• The government should encourage morals and family
• There should be a reduction of government programs
and an increase in privatization.
14. Criticism of
• With little regulation in business, there is less
protection of workers
• Failure to deal with social programs such as
Sexism, Racism, and Classism
• Allows a widening economic gap between rich and
• Creates more problems by not taking care of social
problems (lacks the spend now, save later approach)
• Overly aggressive in military use/more difficult to
create international consensus and diplomacy
• Too close to the Christian Right, Corporate America
who see all issues from an extreme standpoint
16. Ideology vs. Party
• Political Ideology: refers to one’s beliefs about political
values and the role of government.
• Political Party: An organized group of people with
common values and goals, who try to get their candidates
elected to office.
• Parties are based on ideology, but very different and not
mutually exclusive. Liberals are often Democrats and
Conservatives are often Republican, but not always. You
can be a liberal Republican or a conservative
Libertarian, because ideology transcends political party.
One is how you feel about issues and the other is the
political organization you are registered with, which raises
money, establishes primaries, and helps candidates run
17. The Two Party System
• The Democrats and The Republicans: In the
United States there are two major parties. This is
very different from most western Democracies.
For example in the
UK, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, etc. there
are multiple parties that fit on various parts of
the political spectrum. From conservatives to
liberals, to libertarians, to socialists and green
• As a result in the United States there is large
gaps in ideology among even party members of
the Democrats or Republicans.
18. Political Base
• Is the group of people which a political
candidate or political party feels is most likely
to vote for them. Generally people in the
political base are more extreme in their
political views and more likely to vote
(especially in primaries).
• For example: Republicans over the last few
years have seen their base as fiscally
conservative people and those who are highly
religious, and will court them in the primaries
by attempting to seem more socially and
19. Alternatives to the Two Ideology/Two
• People who have defined it (the political
terms are always changing): Ralph
Nader, Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, Zach
De La Rocha, Jill Stein (many may register as
• Central View of Socialism: Government
system based on public ownership of
important industries (not retail, but
industries related to the welfare of the people
– electricity, water, health care, etc)
• Steeper tax burden, more government
• Protect citizens rights, while attempting to
create Economic Equality (eliminate socioeconomic classes)
• People who have defined it (the political
terms are always changing): Harry
Browne, Carla Howell, Arnold
Schwarzenneger, Jesse Ventura, Dennis
Miller, Bill Maher, Drew Carey, Ted Nugent, PJ
O’Rourke (many may register as
• Central View of Libertarianism: Ideology that
individual liberty can only flourish with little
• Reduce government programs and taxes
• Allow businesses to regulate themselves
• Allow social welfare to be done by private
22. Dirty Word Politics: Left vs. Right
Tax and Spend Liberals vs.
23. Federalist 10 and
• James Madison warns of factions (groups of
citizens with interests contrary to the rights of
others or the whole community) in Federalist 10.
Madison writes that a nation dominated by
factions would lead to a tyranny of the majority.
• Nowhere is there mention of political parties or
interest groups in the Constitution! Many of the
framers would have been ideologically opposed to
political parties and interest groups (although
many of them divided themselves in the debate
over the Constitution).
24. Part II. The Political Landscape
25. Political Efficacy
• Is a person’s own belief that she or he can
influence politics through their actions and
expression of opinion.
• If a person’s political efficacy is high, then they
believe they have power over the decisions of
• If a person’s personal efficacy is low, then they
believe they have little power over the decisions
of their government.
26. How has Bush and Obama
affected Political Efficacy?
27. We don’t have efficacy polls that recent, but here is
trust in government…
28. Political Landscape
• Is a term used by political scientists to describe the
regional differences throughout a country. By using
statistics through polling and determining where certain
ideologies and political parties are predominant is gives
us a picture of a specific areas of a nation.
29. We need a volunteer: lets try to determine which states are more
liberal and which states are more conservative…
30. have broken the US into red (voted for Bush - conservative)
and blue (voted for Kerry - liberal) states.
31. A 2004 Election map adjusted for population.
32. The amount of red on the map is skewed because there are a lot of counties in which only a slim
majority voted Republican. One possible way to allow for this to be reflected in a map
(suggested by Robert Vanderbei at Princeton) is to use not just two colors on the map, red and
blue, but instead to use red, blue, and shades of purple to indicate percentages of voters. Here
is what the normal map looks like if you do this. If you use this method American appears less
33. Let’s think about the 2000
34. Who voted for who in 2000?
(We will see if we are right at the end)
Wealthy Communities –
Poor Communities –
Coast – Gore
Inland – Bush
Urban – Gore
Suburban – Split (49-47 percent Bush according to
Rural – Bush
Wealthy Communities – Bush
Poor Communities – Gore
Black – Gore
Hispanic – Gore
Asian – Gore
Women – Gore
Males – Bush
36. How has this changed
with the 2008 election?
37. The Final Count in 2008:
INSERT MAP HERE…
38. Is America Bluer Now?
• Demographics: the study of the
characterizations of populations
• Political Socialization: the process
where their community or society in general
influences one’s political beliefs
• Ethnocentrism: selective perception that
leads one to believe in the superiority of
one’s nation or ethnic group.
41. Race and Ethnicity
• Race: a grouping of human characteristics
based on appearance, usually skin color and eye
shape (White, Black, Asian, Native American)
• Ethnicity: a social division based on national
origin, religion, language, and culture
(Latino, Pacific Islander, African
American, Polish American, Chinese
American, Afro-Caribbean, Native Hawaiian)
• Multiracial: Sociological term to describe a
person of one or more race.
42. Minority Population in the US
43. How do whites vote?
• Whites make up about 215 million people and 80% of
all voters (Census 2005)
• Whites voted for Bush (58%), Kerry (41%) in 2004
and Bush (54%), Gore (42%), and Nader (3%) in
• In 2008, Whites voted for McCain (53%) and Obama
44. White Males and Females
• White males voted for Bush (62%) and Kerry (37%)
(CNN). In 2008, White males voted for McCain (57%)
and Obama (41%). (PEW)
• White females voted for Bush (55%) and Kerry (44%).
(CNN). White females voted for McCain (53%) to Obama
45. How do African
• African Americans make up about 39 million people and
11% of all voters (Census 2005)
• Blacks voted for Kerry (88%), Bush (11%) in 2004 and
Gore (90%), Bush (9%), and Nader (1%) in 2000. (CNN)
In 2008, Blacks voted for Obama (95%) to McCain 4%
46. How do Latinos vote?
• Latinos make up about 42 million people and 8% of all
voters (Census 2005)
• Latinos voted for Kerry (62%), Bush (32%) in 2004 and
Gore (62%), Bush (35%), and Nader (2%) in 2000.
(CNN) Latinos voted for Obama (66%) to McCain 32%
47. How do Asians vote?
• Asian Americans make up about 13 million people and
2% of all voters (Census 2005)
• Asians voted for Kerry (56%), Bush (44%) in 2004 and
Gore (55%), Bush (44%), and Nader (1%) in 2000.
(CNN) In 2008, Asians voted for Obama (61%) and
48. How did American
• The concentration of American Indians in the US
is traditionally in the west and centered on
• American Indians/Pacific Islanders make up
about 3 million people and <1% of all voters
• American Indians/Pacific Islanders voted for
Kerry (54%), Bush (40%) in 2004 and Gore
(55%), Bush (39%), and Nader (1%) in 2000.
49. Class in the U.S.
• White Collar 58%
• Blue Collar 32%
• Farming 1%
• Other 8%
• White Collar 39%
• Blue Collar 40%
• Farming 12%
• Other 9%
50. Poverty and the United
• In the US there are 11 million poor whites, 10 million
poor blacks, 8 million poor Latinos, 1 million poor
Asians, 570,000 poor American Indians.
• Approximately 7 percent of whites, 10 percent of
Asians, 20 percent of Latinos, 24 percent of American
Indians, and 28 percent of African Americans are
living under the poverty line. (Census 2000)
51. How do poor and wealthy
• Extremely wealthy people (over $350,000) make up
3 million and about 3% of all voters.
• Wealthy people (over $92,000/under $350,000)
make up about 60 million people and 18% of all
voters (Census 2005).
• Poor people (under $22,000) make up about 75
million people and 10% of all voters (Census 2005).
• Extremely wealthy people voted for Bush (63%) and
Kerry (35%). Wealthy people voted for Bush (57%)
and Kerry (42%) in 2004. Poor people voted for
Kerry (63%) and Bush (36%). (CNN)
52. The Middle Class
• Middle class people (over $25,000 and under $92,000)
make up 162 million people and about 59% of all voters.
• Middle class people voted for Bush (54%) and Kerry
53. Sexual Orientation
• Between 5-10% of the population identifies as
gay or lesbian
• In polls issues of strong concern within the gay
community: discrimination and gay
• People identifying as gay or lesbian voted for
Kerry (77%) and Bush (23%) in 2004 and Gore
(70%) and Bush (25%). (CNN)
• Log Cabin Republicans are an organization for
gay and lesbian conservatives.
54. Religion and the United
55. Education and Voting
• No High School (4%): Kerry 50% Bush 49%
• High School Graduate (22%): Bush 52% Kerry
• Some College (32%): Bush 54% Kerry 46%
• College Graduate (26%): Bush 52% Kerry
• Post-graduate Study (16%): Bush 44% Kerry
(From CNN. Parentheses indicate percentage of
total voting population.)
56. Part III. Public Opinion (Polling)
57. What is Public Opinion?
• The distribution of individual preferences for, or
evaluation of, a given issue, candidate, or institution
within a specific population.
• Many independent companies, from news outlets to
private polling firms do polling about voting preferences
in elections, issues, and perceptions.
58. Support for the Death Penalty in the U.S.
59. What is Margin of Error
• The margin of error is a statistic expression for the
amount of random sampling error in a survey's
results. It helps us gage the validity of a poll.
• This means that 95% of the time the “true number” is
with the “+/- number”. (see graph next slide)
• A smaller sample size creates a larger margin of error
and a larger size creates a smaller margin of error.
• A common misconception is that +/- means that the
survey is accurate within 3 percentage points. 5% of
the time the actual number will be outside the poll’s
60. How do companies get
• Ask for individual preferences from a random
sample of people (usually via phone)
• Proper random sampling that represents a good
cross section of the population being studied
• Proper wording of questions that avoid biases
• Thorough analysis of data, pollsters make
predictions of the view of the public or specific
• Note: Internet polls are not scientific and hold no
61. Examples of Historical
• In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been
President for one term. The magazine, The
Literary Digest, predicted that Alfred Landon
would beat FDR in that year's election by 57 to
43 percent (and a landslide in the Electoral
College 370-161). The Digest mailed over 10
million questionnaires to names drawn from
lists of automobile and telephone owners, and
over 2.3 million people responded - a huge
• Have you ever heard of President Alf Landon?
Any guesses why they were so wrong!
62. • Context: The Great Depression had begun in
1929. The Literary Digest had made two fatal
mistakes. Their list of names was biased in favor
of those with enough money to buy cars and
phones (who were more likely wealthy and
against FDRs social programs), a much smaller
portion of the population in the thirties than it is
today. (and keep their magazine
subscription, which would be the first thing I
• And the Digest had depended on voluntary
response (not a random sample). FDR was the
incumbent, and those who were unhappy with his
administration were more likely to respond to the
Digest survey. When a sample is biased, a large
number of subjects cannot correct for the error.
• You need a completely random sample for an
• At the same time, a young man named George
Gallup sampled only 50,000 people and
predicted that Roosevelt would win. Gallup's
prediction was ridiculed as naive. After all, the
Digest had predicted the winner in every election
since 1916, and had based its predictions on the
largest response to any poll in history. But
Roosevelt won with 62% of the vote.
• Gallup used a completely random sample that
represented a accurate cross section of the United
States. To this day Gallup’s company is a leader
65. Dewey and Truman in
• The Chicago Tribune (and other papers) in
1948 relied on polls of voter's preferences
based on phone surveys which. In 1948, this
produced a biased sample of affluent voters
(who could afford telephones and also
maintain a stable address), and who were
thus more likely to support the Republican
• Some pollsters had been so confident of
Dewey's victory that they simply stopped
polling voters weeks before the election and
thus missed a last-minute surge of support for
66. Polling Changes
• After 1948, pollsters would survey voters until
the day before the election, then they would also
announce their results on television as polls
closed and results came in.
• Since then television networks have agreed to not
release results until after the polls closed on the
west coast to avoid causing a last minute surge.
• After the election of 2000 (Bush vs. Gore) many
polling agencies stopped using exit polls (due to
inaccuracy) and instead rely on actual
results, while others promised to not disclose
results until after polls have closed.
67. Polling Dilemmas
• Bradley Effect: Explanation for observed
discrepancies between voter opinion polls and
election outcomes when a white candidate and a
non-white candidate run against each other.
Named for Tom Bradley, an African-American
who lost the 1982 California gover nor's race.
• Lead or Momentum Effect: When a lead in
the polls result in a greater increases of a
candidates lead as people jump on the
“bandwagon” or realize others support of
candidates may be a reason to support them.
68. Organizations that Poll in the US
American Research Group, Inc.
69. Margin of Error (+/-)
Why is there a margin of error?
• Not everyone (polled) is of the “attentive public”.
• This means not everyone pays attention to public affairs
and current events.
• Not everyone (polled) votes in elections.
• If results are within the margin of error they are
70. What influences Public
Family and Upbringing
Amount of and Type of Schooling
A Person’s Employment