Chapter 6 Terms: Public Opinion and Political Actions

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public opinion

the distribution of the population's beliefs about politics and policy issues

demography

the science of population changes

census

a valuable tool for understanding demographic changes; the Constitution requires that the government conduct an "actual enumeration" of the population every 10 years

melting pot

the mixing of cultures, ideas, and peoples that has changed the American nation; the U.S., with its history of immigration, has often been called this

minority majority

the emergance of a non-Caucasian majority, as compared with a White, generally Anglo-Saxon majority; it is predicted that by about 2060, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans together will outnumber White Americans

political culture

an overall set of values widely shared within a society

reapportionment

the process of reallocating seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years on the basis of the results of the census

political socialization

according to Richard Dawson, "the process through which an individual acquires his [or her] particular political orientations - his [or her] knowledge, feelings, and evaluations regarding his [or her] political world"

sample

a relatively small proportion of people who are chosen in a survey so as to be representative of the whole

random sampling

the key technique employed by sophisticated survey researchers, which operates on the principle that everyone should have an equal probability of being selected for the sample

sampling error

the level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll; the more people interviewed, the more confident one can be of the results

random-digit dialing

a technique used by pollsters to place telephone calls randomly to both listed and unlisted numbers when conducting a survey

exit poll

public opinion surveys used by major media pollsters to predict electoral winners with speed and precision

political ideology

a coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose; it helps give meaning to political events, personalities, and policies

gender gap

a term that refers to the regular pattern by which women are more likely to support Democratic candidates; women tend to be significantly less conservative than men and are more likely to support spending on social services and to oppose higher levels of military spending

political participation

all the activities used by citizens to influnce the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue; the most common example is voting, but others are protest and civil disobedience

protest

a form of political participation designed to achieve policy change through dramatic and unconventional tactics

civil disobedience

a form of political participation that reflects a concious decision to break a law believed to be mmoral and to suffer the consequences

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