Political Beliefs and Behaviors

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Transcript Political Beliefs and Behaviors

Political Beliefs and Behaviors I

Chapter 5 Public Opinion and Political Socialization

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• Public Opinion? What is it? What is your opinion on major policy issues?

– It can vary over time – PO can place limits on what policy and gov’t can do – You might not be expert, but you always have an opinion – Responsiveness is key to representative democracy  but gov’t sometimes does not do what people want (why???)

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• • Statistical sampling theory does not claim that a sample exactly matches the population, only that it reflects the population with some predictable degree of accuracy. 3 Factors that determine accuracy – How the sample is randomly selected – The size of the sample—the larger the sample, the more accurately it represents the population – The amount of variation in the population

Sometimes polls can be off… but if they follow the rules of appropriate polling they will be close.

1948: Truman 1992: Clinton

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Good website for looking at poll accuracy!!

http://www.ncp

p.org/?q=node/ 4

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• Assumptions about public opinion – M: majority of people are consistent on their opinions on government policy • This means that government should do all people want – P: public is uninformed and wishy washy from day to day • Government should listen to the informed interest group

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• Distribution of public opinion

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• Implications?

– Normal: public tends to support moderate policy on issue – Bimodal: great potential for political conflict – Skewed: most share the same opinion, those in the minority risk social ostracism What issues would fit into these 3 categories?

HW: Public opinion poll

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• Stability?

– How stable were the distribution of your opinions compared to those you talked with?

Some opinions change very little over time, some change within subgroups, and some change very dramatically. Historical examples???

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• So where do we learn all this from???

– Political socialization: process where you learn about political values What are the major agents that socialize you politically?

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The Agents of Early Socialization

– Two fundamental principles characterize early learning • The primacy principle: what is learned first is learned best • The structuring principle: what is learned first structures later learning

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– Agents that structure early socialization include • The family: usually adopt same as parents or deviate to independent – What are your parents political party and ideologies??

– Are you the same?

• Community and Peers: create opportunities to reinforce or change your political attitudes – Are your beliefs the same or different than theirs?

• School: introduces government and citizen roles – What have you been taught?

– VIDEO CLIP ON SCHOOL SOCIALIZATION

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Questions: 1. Why type of political socialization activities did you witness?

2. What type of model does this follow?

3. What does this movie teach us about democracy? The role of the citizen?

I KNOW THIS IS A SILLY MOVIE…

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• Socialization of Mrs. Wells???

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Family contributes a lot to the socialization of children!

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• This guy… did not create my political views.

• However, he does continue to politically socialize me in adulthood.

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Continuing Socialization

– Peer groups assume greater importance is promoting political awareness and shaping opinions – Older Americans rely on newspapers and television news for political information – Younger Americans are more likely to rely on radio, magazines or the Internet for political information – People gain perspective on government as they grow older

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Is this the authority on news and government???

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• So… who are we??? Based on that, how are you going to participate??? Is your background and continued social groups and indicator of your political values?

• • HW: find out…be prepared to analyze yourself http://politicsstudio.wetpaint.com/page/Diver sity

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• • • Social Groups and Political Values People with similar backgrounds tend to develop similar political opinions Characteristics that shape political opinions – Education – – Income Race and ethnicity – – Religion Gender

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• • WHAT SOCIAL GROUPS DO YOU BELONG TO ACCORDING TO YOUR HW? DOES OUR CLASSROOM REFLECT SOCIETY?

United States Profile http://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/dc10_thematic/2010_Profile/2010_P rofile_Map_United_States.pdf

Ohio Profile http://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/dc10_thematic/2010_Profile/2010_P rofile_Map_Ohio.pdf

http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xht

ml?pid=DEC_10_DP_DPDP1&prodType=table

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Freedom v. Order

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Freedom v. Equality

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• • Looking at the chart, what trends do you see based on the social groups??

How would that connect to political values and ideology??

A good resource to look at election studies (that we will look at again) http://www.electionstudies.org/nesguide/gd index.htm#9

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• http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/06 /19/nyregion/how-many-households-are-like yours.html?ref=familiesandfamilylife • In class essay time  • HW: Voter demographic analysis

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• How do social values translate into political thinking?

– Education  – Income levels  – Region  – Race/Ethnicity  – Religion  – Gender 

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• • • The Degree of Ideological Thinking in Public Opinion – Most people don’t think in ideological terms  pick moderate because they do not understand what liberal or conservative mean The Quality of Ideological Thinking in Public Opinion – Liberal or conservative because of the symbolic value of the terms – Associate liberals with change (freedom) and conservatives with tradition (maintenance of order) More helpful to think about tradeoffs – Liberals are more willing to trade freedom for equality – Conservatives are more wiling to trade freedom for order

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• Ideological Types in the United States – Conservative responses are the most common pattern • – Communitarian responses are the 2 nd common pattern most But the US is pretty much divided down the middle in regards to those that are on the left and those on the right of the spectrum – Look at elections if you don’t believe me 

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• Forming Political Opinions – Political Knowledge: > 50% have basic info DO I KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON? (INSTITUTIONS AID IN THIS  ) – Costs, Benefits, and Cues • Self-interest principle: the implication that people choose what benefits them personally • Plays an obvious role in how people form opinions on government policies HOW DOES THIS EFFECT ME? (INSTITUTIONS AID IN THIS AS WELL  )

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– Information processing • An opinion schema constitutes a network of organized knowledge and beliefs that guide a person’s processing of information regarding a particular subject. How have I been socialized? How do we continue to be socialized? – Political Leadership • Public opinion is molded by political leaders, journalists, and policy experts • Issue framing: the way that politicians or interest group leaders defines an issue when presenting it to others