Section 1Power of Interest Groups• An interest group is a group of people who share common goals and organize to influence• government. differ from political Interest groups parties in several ways: – Interest groups may support candidates for office who favor their ideas, but they do not nominate candidates for office. – Interest groups usually are concerned with only a few issues or specific
Section 1Power of Interest Groups (cont.) – Most interest groups are organized on the basis of common values, rather than on geographical location.• Interest groups help bridge the gap between the citizen and the government.• By representing more than one individual, an interest group has a strong bargaining position with leaders in government.
Section 4Nonscientific Methods• Elected officials use a number of sources to stay abreast of public opinion, including: – political parties and interest groups; – mass media; – letters and e-mails or faxes; – straw polls—which offer only a biased sampleof the population; and – political Web sites and blogs.
Section 4Scientific Polling• Scientific polling involves three basic steps: – selecting a sample of the group to be questioned; – presenting carefully worded questions to the individuals in the sample; and – interpreting the results. Presidential Approval Ratings Since 1940
Section 4Scientific Polling (cont.)• The group of people that is to be studied in a poll is called the universe.• Since it is not practical to interview everyone in a universe, pollsters question a representative sample. Presidential Approval Ratings Since 1940
Section 4Scientific Polling (cont.)• Random samplingis the technique in which everyone in that universe has an equal chance of being selected.• A sampling erroris a measurement of how much the sample results might differ from the sample universe.• Sampling error decreases as the sample size becomes larger. Presidential Approval Ratings Since 1940
Section 4Scientific Polling (cont.)• One way to draw a random sample is by using a cluster samplewhich organizes, or clusters, people by geographical divisions.• The way a poll question is phrased can greatly influence people’s responses and, in turn, poll results. Presidential Approval Ratings Since 1940
Section 2The Work of Lobbyists• Lobbyingis the process by which interest groups try to influence government policy by making direct contact with lawmakers or other government leaders.
Section 2The Work of Lobbyists (cont.)• One of the most important ways that lobbyists make their case is by providing a member of Congress with facts and data about the policy they want.
Section 2 CommitteesThe Rise of Political Action• Political action committees (PACs) are specifically designed to collect money and provide financial support for a political candidate.• While federal law prevents corporations and labor unions from making direct contributions to any federal candidate, the law permits their political action committees to do so. PAC Contributions
Section 2The Rise of Political Action Committees (cont.)• The Federal Election Commission issues regulations and advisory opinions that control PAC activities. PAC Contributions
Section 2 ServePACs and the Groups They• PACs can be classified into two categories according to the groups they serve: – Affiliated PACs are those tied to corporations, labor unions, trade groups, or health organizations. – Independent, or nonconnected, PACs are groups interested in a particular cause that are not connected to any existing interest group.
Section 2 ServePACs and the Groups They (cont.)• 527 organizations—named for part of the tax code—emerged in the 2004 election.• 527 organizations do not directly urge citizens to vote for a specific candidate, but instead focus on advocating an issue.
Section 2Strategies for Influence• PACs use their money to gain access to lawmakers and to influence election outcomes directly.• Interest groups, especially PACs, raise much of the money used in political campaigns.• PACs generally support incumbents, or government officials already in office.