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Public opinion

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


The science of population changes


A valuable tool for understanding demographic changes. The U.S. Constitution requires that the government conduct and "actual enumeration" of the population every 10 years

Melting pot

The mixing of cultures, ideas, and peoples that has changed the American nation. The United States with its history of immigration, has often been called a melting pot

Minority majority

The emergence 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 sociey


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

Political socialization

The process by which people gain their political attitudes and opinions.


A relatively small proportion of people who are chosen in a survey so a 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 public opinion poll. The more people interviewed, the more confident one cab 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 pool

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 purpos. It helps give meaning to political events, personalitie, 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 influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. Voting is the most common but not the only means of political participation in a democracy. Other means include protest and civil disobedience.


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 conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences

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