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(Week 4) public opinion
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(Week 4) public opinion

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  • Political socialization is the process whereby individuals acquire political knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. It is a lifelong process, although most scholarly focus has been on children and adolescents. Studies have found that children tend to personalize and idealize government. • Agents of Socialization include t he family, school, religious institutions, peer groups, the media, and events are all agents of political socialization. Political authorities often consciously try to shape public attitudes and beliefs.
  • Political socialization is the process whereby individuals acquire political knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. It is a lifelong process, although most scholarly focus has been on children and adolescents. Studies have found that children tend to personalize and idealize government.
  • The theory behind survey research is that the opinions of a large population (also referred to as a universe ) can be measured based on interviews with a relatively small sample. Sampling To be an accurate reflection of a universe, the sample must be representative of that universe. A biased sample is not representative of the universe. Margin of error is related to sample size and bears on how poll results should be interpreted. In a random sample, every member of the poll’s universe has just as much chance of being polled as any other member of the universe.
  • Question Wording Some types of invalid questions include: Questions that are too complicated or too simple. Questions that may be biased and tend to produce results tilted to one side or the other. However, certain subjects are difficult to measure because of their controversial nature.
  • Americans are poorly informed about politics and government. Political ignorance is especially widespread among younger adults.
  • Many scholars believe that political trust is essential to political legitimacy in a democracy. Political legitimacy is the popular acceptance of a government and its officials as rightful authorities in the exercise of power. Some political scientists believe that declining trust in government officials contributes to a decline in political legitimacy.
  • For some Americans, levels of internal political efficacy have risen over the last two decades, while levels of external political efficacy have fallen dramatically. Political efficacy is the extent to which people believe they can affect the policymaking process.
  • More Americans say they are conservative than say they are liberal. The terms political left and political right are used to describe political ideology. Are Americans Liberal or Conservative? Liberalism is a political philosophy that favors the use of government power to foster the development of the individual and promote the welfare of society. Conservatism is the political philosophy that government power undermines the development of the individual and diminishes society as a whole.
  • Opinion Differences Among Groups The views of Americans often vary depending on social class, race, religion, age, region, and gender. Social Class : Lower-income Americans are more liberal than middle- and upper-income people on some issues and more conservative on other issues.
  • Opinion Differences Among Groups (cont.) Generation : Younger people are more tolerant than their elders, especially on issues such as women’s rights, civil rights for racial and ethnic minority groups, and gay and lesbian rights. Despite conventional wisdom, studies find no evidence that people grow more conservative as they grow older. Region : Differences in political views among people from different geographical regions are less evident than they once were, but they still exist. Gender : Studies have found major differences between men and women on a number of issues, particularly those concerning war and peace and spending on social programs.
  • Does public opinion affect public policy? Political science research shows a relationship between public opinion and policy at least some of the time. Public opinion establishes a zone of acquiescence , which is the range of policy options acceptable to the public on a particular issue. Public opinion affects policy not by dictating policy but by limiting options. Political scientists generally agree that public opinion is usually only one of several factors affecting the public policy process.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Chapter 6 Public Opinion Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. SvenMartson/The Image Works
    • 2. Political Socialization
      • Political socialization
        • How individuals acquire political knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs
        • Lifelong process, although most scholarly focus has been on children and adolescents
        • Studies: children tend to personalize and idealize government
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 3. Political Socialization
      • Agents of Socialization – the factors that contribute to political socialization by shaping formal and informal learning
        • Includes
          • family
          • school
          • religious institutions
          • peer groups
          • media
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 4. Measuring Public Opinion
      • The opinions of a large population, or universe
        • Measured based on interviews with a relatively small sample
      • Sampling
        • Must be representative of that population, or universe
        • Biased samples are not representative
        • Margin of error
          • Related to sample size and bears on how poll results should be interpreted
        • Random sample
          • Every member of the poll’s universe has just as much chance of being polled as any other member.
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 5. Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Mauro Saivezzo/Shutterstock
    • 6. Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 7. Measuring Public Opinion
        • Question Wording – invalid questions: too complicated or too simple, may be biased and tend to produce results too one-sided
        • Question Sequencing – determines context
        • Phantom Opinions – made-up responses
        • Interviewer-Respondent Interaction – race or gender of interviewer can affect results
        • Timing – most valid on day poll is taken
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 8. Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 9. Political Knowledge and Attitudes
      • Knowledge and Interest:
        • Americans are poorly informed about politics and government.
        • Some groups are more informed than others.
      • Support for democratic principles:
        • Support of majority rule and minority rights in the abstract.
        • Opinions are mixed when it comes to specific applications of these concepts.
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 10. Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 11. Political Trust and Political Legitimacy
      • Political trust
        • Essential to political legitimacy in a democracy
      • Political legitimacy
        • Popular acceptance of a government and its officials as rightful authorities in the exercise of power
      • Declining trust in government officials contributes to decline in political legitimacy
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 12.
      • Political efficacy
        • The extent to which people believe they can affect the policymaking process.
      • For some Americans
        • Levels of internal political efficacy have risen over the last two decades.
        • Meanwhile, levels of external political efficacy have fallen dramatically.
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Political Trust and Political Legitimacy
    • 13. Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Izzy Schwartz/Photdisc/Getty Images
    • 14. Political Philosophy
      • Liberalism: political philosophy that favors the use of government power to promote the welfare of society.
      • Conservatism: political philosophy that government undermines the development of the individual and undermines society.
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. CORBIS
    • 15. Political Philosophy
      • More Americans say they are conservative than say they are liberal.
      • The terms political left and political right are used to describe political ideology.
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Bettmann/CORBIS
    • 16. Political Philosophy
      • Opinion Differences Among Groups:
        • Social Class: Lower-income Americans are more liberal than middle and upper-income people on some issues and more conservative on other issues.
        • Race and Ethnicity: African Americans and Hispanics hold more liberal views on economic issues than white Americans do.
        • Religion: Affiliation with different religious denominations affect many Americans’ political views; church attendance correlates with political participation.
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 17. Political Philosophy
        • Opinion Differences Among Groups:
        • Generation: Younger people are more liberal, especially on issues such as women’s rights, civil rights for racial and ethnic minority groups, and gay/lesbian rights.
        • Region : Differences in political views among people from different geographical regions are less evident than they once were, but they still exist.
        • Gender : Studies have found major differences between men and women on a number of issues, particularly those concerning war and peace and spending on social programs.
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 18. Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Pete Stone/CORBIS
    • 19. Public Opinion and Public Policy
      • Does public opinion affect public policy?
        • Public opinion establishes a zone of acquiescence.
          • This is the range of policy options acceptable to the public on a particular issue.
        • Public opinion
          • Affects policy not by dictating policy but by limiting options
          • Usually only one of several factors affecting the public policy process
      Copyright © 2011, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.