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G813

GITELSON AND CARNEY CH. 5 PUBLIC OPINION & POLITICAL PARTICIPATION (F)

 

DEFINITIONS:  majority—more than 50% but less than 100%; electorate—people who vote; SES—socio-economic-status or class; NAFTA—North American Free Trade Agreement (Common Market); affluent; per capita; on a par  YEAR:  1945—Franklin D. Roosevelt dies and World War II ends

I. Political public opinion: people’s views concerning political issues (p. 129)

II. How we develop beliefs and opinions

                A. Political socialization: process of acquiring political values and knowledge (130)

                B. Agents of political socialization:

                                1. Family: Children have a strong tendency to adopt the party identification of their parents (131).

                                2. Friends tend to reinforce our beliefs since we associate ourselves with like-minded people as we get older (131).

                                3. School: Better-educated people are more likely to hold liberal views and more likely to participate (131).

4. Media: Impact varies depending on viewing and reading habits (132-133).

                                5. Religion teaches morals and values, influencing attitudes about political issues (133).

                C. Political culture: set of values and beliefs about government shared my most in society (130).

                              *1. In U. S., there is a general faith in democracy and capitalism (130).*

                                2. There are a vast variety of subcultures that have different views on most issues (130)

III. How scientific polls work

                A. Random probability sampling (or random sample): Theoretically, every individual in the population has an equal chance of being selected. (134)

                B. Sources of inaccuracy--sample not random—each person does not have an equal chance of being questioned (134), biased questions (135)

IV. Avenues of political participation: attempts to affect government policies in addition to voting (142)

A. Voter turnout has dropped over the last 30 years with only 51% of eligible voters voting in 2000, which is lower than most other democracies (142, 145).

B. Other forms of participation include discussing politics, sending letters to representatives, contributing money to campaigns, attending public hearings, and civil disobedience (142, 144-145).

C. Civil disobedience: peaceful refusal to obey laws believed to be unjust such as boycotts and sit-ins (144). Civil disobedience increased since the 1960’s (145).

V. Demographic influences on opinion, participation, and party loyalty

A. Education: Higher levels of education lead to higher levels of participation (131)..

                B. Gender: Women are resister slightly more Democratic (139); more females than males voted in Pres. elections since 1964 and number of female elected officials is rising (147)

                C. Age: 18-25 year olds are the least likely to participate (139). People over 25 more likely to participate (146).

                D. Race and Ethnicity

                                1. Whites slightly more Republican (141)

                                2. African Americans are strongly democratic (141). Participation levels have increased greatly in the last 30 years (146).

3. Hispanics, except for Cubans, tend to be Democratic (141). Participation is  low but is likely to rise (148).

                                4. Asians and Native Americans have low participation levels, but likely they are to rise (149).

                E. Religion: Jews and Catholics are more likely to register Democratic, Protestants are more likely to register Republican (141).