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73 terms

Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media

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Activist
someone who strongly advocates their political views
Ballot Initiative
citizens can petition to propose or change a law, and if the petition is successful, the law can be voted on at the polls
Caucus
a local meeting of people from the same political party to choose candidates
Campaign Finance Reform
efforts to limit the amount of money that an individual or group can donate to political campaigns
Challenger
a candidate who is running against the incumbent
Closed Primary
a primary that only allows voters who are registered with a party to vote
Coattail Effect
when people vote for a lesser-known candidate because of a popular candidate (ie. the President)
Crossover voting
when a voter who normally supports a particular party votes in the primary of the other party
Direct Democracy
a form of democracy where an assembly of all citizens meets to discuss and vote on matters related to government
Democratic Party
one of the two main American political parties. it tends to be more liberal and puts more trust in the government to solve problems in society
Direct Primary
a preliminary election that decides each party's nominee through a direct vote
Electoral College
a body of electors who elect the president and vice president
527 Campaign Committees
a committee that supports a particular candidate or interest. it raises soft money from individuals and corporations to fund issue ads, but it can't coordinate its activities with a particular candidate.
Fairness doctrine
said that broadcasters had the responsibility to present all issues fairly and to show both sides of controversial issues
"Favorite Son"
A politician who is supported because of where (s)he is from instead of for his/her views
Franchise
right to market certain goods or services in a certain area
Front loading
when states move their primaries or caucuses earlier so that they will be more influential
Front runner
the candidate who is leading in a political race
Gender Gap
difference between men and women's attitudes and voting preferences
General Election
a national or state election that decides who will hold a particular office
Gerrymandering
changing boundaries of electoral districts
Hard Money
a direct monetary contribution from a donor to a candidate
Incumbent
the current holder of an office
Initiative
the power or right to introduce a new legislative measure
Interest Group
a group of people with a common view/interest who work to influence policy
Literacy Test
a test to determine whether someone can read or write, often used to determine whether someone is eligible to vote
Lobby
an attempt to influence public officials
Lobbying/Lobbyist
someone who works to influence politicians so that they will support a particular group on a particular issue
McCain-Feingold Act (Shays-Meehan)
banned soft money contributions to political parties
Media bias
the intentional or unintentional tendency of the media to report a story in a way that is not objective
Motor Voter Act of 1993
required state governments to allow people to register to vote when they applied for their driver's liscence
National Nominating Conventions
used to choose a party's presidential nominee, but now it is just a gathering of people from a party to hear speeches and write the party platform
Negative Spot/ad
a short advertisement that attacks another candidate's position or character
Nonprobability Sampling
when a poll uses a sampling that is not "random" and therefore data from this sampling can't be used to infer anything about the whole population
Nonvoter
a person who doesn't vote or isn't eligible to vote
Open primary
a primary where any voter can vote in either party's primary -- you don't need to be registered with that party
Open seat
when no incumbent is running for reelection
"Pack Journalism"
describes the tendency of news reporting to become homogeneous
Party Dealignment
when voters abandon their previous political party and become independents or realign with a different political party
Party Identification
which political party voters identify with -- often predisposes voters to vote for their party
Party Platform
states the party's beliefs and vision for America. it is drafted at the national convention and it guides the party for the next four years
Party Realignment
after dealignment, voters join a different political party
Personal Following
when people support a candidate based on popularity and networks
Plurality System
(aka winner-takes-all system) -- a party wins if they receive the plurality of votes, they don't necessarily need a majority
Political Action Committee (PAC)
an organization formed to collect money and donate it to candidate or political parties
Political Machine
a group that controls the activities of a political party
Political Party
a group that seeks to elect candidate to public office by supplying them with a label (party ID) by which they are known to the electorate
Poll Tax
a tax levied as a requirement for voting
Primary Election
a preliminary election that chooses nominees for the general election
Prior Restraint
press is guaranteed freedom from censorship: no rules telling it in advance what it can or can't publish
Public Interest Group
a group of individuals with common goals who attempt to influence policymakers and legislation
Random Sampling
everyone has an equal chance of being selected to be in the sample
Reagan Democrats
the name comes from traditionally democratic voters who voted for republican Ronald Reagan. now it is used to describe democrats who often vote republican because of conservative social views.
Reapportionment
periodic changes in the congressional districts because of changes in census figures
Recall
the procedure by which a public official can be removed from office through a vote
Referendum
a legislative act is voted on by the public for approval
Reform Party
a third party that was created by Ross Perot that focuses on reforms in taxes, budget, and campaign finance
Religious Right
religious citizens who advocate political and social conservatism
Republican Party
one of the two main American political parties. it tends to be more conservative and wants less government intervention
Runoff Primary
a second primary designed to give the winner a majority of votes, instead of the plurality
Safe Seat
a seat in Congress that is viewed as fully secured by a political party or candidate
Sampling Error
an error caused by observing a small sample instead of the whole population
Soft Money
contributions that avoid government regulation, often used for issue ads, voter registration, and voter turnout activities
Split-ticket voting
when there are multiple offices chooses by one election, a voter might vote for a candidate from one party for one office and a candidate from another party for another office
Superdelegate
a party or government official that is selected as a delegate to a national convention on the basis of their position
Super Tuesday
the Tuesday in March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections
Term Limits
a limit on the number of terms that a person may serve in a particular elected office
Third Parties
a political party that is not one of the two main political parties and often focuses on a particular interest. often unsuccessful because of the winner-take-all system
Two-Party System
a party system where two major political parties dominate voting in nearly all elections
Sampling Universe
the body of people from which you can select a random sample
Valence Issue
an issue that most people have the same opinion about
Voter Turnout
the number of voters who turn up to the polls
Winner-Take-All System
the candidate that receives the most votes in his or her district wins that seat in congress, often causing third parties to have little success in elections