The distribution, or percentage, of the electorate that identifies with each of the political parties.
Aggregate Public Opinion
In a democracy, the sum of all individual opinions.
A state of mind produced when particular issues evoke attitudes and beliefs that pull in opposite directions.
A mental device allowing citizens to make complex decisions based on a small amount of information.
In the United States, a proponent of a political ideology that favors small or limited government, an unfettered free market, self-reliance, and traditional social norms.
Moral beliefs held by citizens that underlie their attitudes toward political and other issues. As integral parts of an individual's identity, these beliefs are stable and resistant to change.
Providing a context that affects the criteria citizens use to evaluate candidates, campaigns, and political issues.
A comprehensive, integrated set of views about government and politics.
Groups of citizens who are more attentive to particular areas of public policy than average citizens because such groups have some special stake in the issues.
In the United States, a proponent of a political ideology that favors extensive government action to redress social and economic inequalities and tolerates social behaviors that the other group finds deviant. Present day these individuals advocate policies benefiting the poor, minority groups, labor unions, women, and the environment and oppose government imposition of traditional norms.
Uncertainties in public opinion, as revealed by responses to polls, that arise from the imperfect connection between the wording of survey questions an the terms in which people understand and think about political objects.
A citizen who is highly attentive to and involved in politics or some related area and to who other citizens turn for political information and cues.
The process by which citizens acquire their political beliefs and values.
The news media's influence on how citizens make political judgements, through emphasis on particular stories.
Public Opinion Textbook
"Those opinions held by private persons which governments find it prudent to heed"
Tools developed in the 20th century for systematically investigating the opinions of ordinary people, based on random samples.
The ability of privileged outsiders, such as interest group representatives to obtain a hearing from elected officials or bureaucrats.
A person who is running for elected office.
Spending by the Democratic and Republican Party committees on behalf of individual congressional candidates.
A method of gauging public opinion by observing a small number of people brought together to discuss specific issues, usually under the guidance of a moderator.
Campaign spending- by a person or organization for or against a political candidate- that is not controlled by or coordinated with any candidate's campaign.
Voting for candidates based on their positions on specific issues, as opposed to their party or person characteristics.
Ina political campaign, the central thematic statement of why voters out to prefer one candidate over others.
Also known as "getting out the vote." Mobilization occurs when activists working for parties, candidates, or interest groups ask members of the electorate to vote.
The art of attacking an opposing candidate's platform, past political performance, or personal characteristics.
A seat in a state or district being contested by candidates, none of whom none currently holds the office. Congressional seats become this when the incumbent dies or does not run for reelection.
An individual's enduring affective or instrumental attachment to one of the political parties; the most accurate single predictor of voting behavior.
A label carrying the party's "brand name," incorporating the policy positions and past performance voters attribute to it.
Basing votes for a candidate or party on how successfully the candidate or party performed while in office.
People who base their votes on candidates' or parties' positions on one particular issue of public policy, regardless of the candidates' or parties' positions o other issues.
Money used by political parties for voter registration, public education, and voter mobilization. Until 2002, when Congress passed legislation outlawing this, the government had imposed no limits on contributions or expenditures for such purposes.
Nie and Verba's 6 Types of Participants
3. Voting Specialists
4. Non-Partisan Community Activists
5. Parochial Participants
Institutional channels of representative government. Campaigning, letter writing, phone calls...
Outside the bounds of representative government. Boston Tea Party...
Socioeconomic Factors related to Participation
These factors are the best way to determine political participation. Education, income, age, race, and gender.
People will participate at high rates when asked, especially if asked by someone they know.
Why turnout so low?
Registration requirements, motor voter has not worked, parties do not mobilize, distrust/political efficacy, and more college educated and white collar workers are choosing to not participate.
Why in the US?
Type of election (primary v. general v. special), party indifference, voter indifference, voter fatigue, and costs of voting.
The Paradox of American Turnout
Downs (1957), an economic theory of democracy. Relations actors will choose to vote when the benefits of voting are more than the cost.
Where R=reward, p=prob. of casting deciding vote,
B=benefits of voting, and C= costs of voting.
R is always (-) so we add D to the equation which represents civic duty and makes R (+) more often.
Too many elections---> length of ballots
The Puzzle of American Participation
Campbell et al. (1960), **Psychological explanation: decrease Party ID.
The Irony of American Turnout
Grant and Lyons (1993), It probably doesn't matter that the turnout is that low becaouse outcomes would not change.
Citrin, Schickler, and Sides (2003), No difference in election outcomes between participants and non-participants.
Putnam (1995), focuses on Social Capitol and its relation to voter turnout.
Public Opinion Green
Collected attitudes of citizens on a given issue or question. Beliefs and attitudes people express about politics.
Collected attitudes from a sample of American people.
Characteristics of American PO
Relative ignorance about politics, issue and ideological inconsistency, decline in trust in government.
Elements of a Good Poll
Random sampling, who is conducting the poll, and question wording and ordering.
Intensity and Stability of PO
Strength of attitude.
Non-Opinion and its Importance
People will often give answers to questions that they know nothing about.
Rational Activist Model
Citizens are expected to be informed and know candidate positions. Citizens must hold elected officials responsible for policy outcomes; if citizens don't they will not follow policy preferences.
Political Parties Model
Reduces the demands on citizens to be informal. Voter votes based upon party platform v. between multiple candidates. Assumed that party members will adhere to platform once elected.
Pressure Groups Model
(Interest Groups) Link between elected officials and voters. Additional pressure tactics may be necessary.
Role Playing Model
Does not hold elected officials accountable. Based upon sociological concept of role.
Does not hold official accountable. Because members of Congress are also member of society public opinion will not differ.
Organized effort to persuade voters to choose one candidate over others competing for the same office.
McGovern-Fraser Reforms of 1972
Result of Humphrey's nomination in '68. You had to vote for who one your states at the nomination convention.
What does it take to run for President?