18 terms

Chapter 6 Terms: Public Opinion and Political Actions

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 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
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"
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
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