The process through which individuals acquire their political beliefs and values
What the public thinks about a particular issue or set of issues at any point in time
Public Opinion Polls
Interviews or surveys with samples of citizens that are used to estimate the feelings and beliefs of the entire population.
Unscientific surveys used to gauge public opinion on a variety of issues and policies
A subset of the whole population selected to be questioned for the purpose of prediction or gauging opinion.
A method of poll selection that gives each person in a group the same chance of being selected.
A variation of random sampling; Census data are used to divide the country into four sampling regions. Sets of countries and Standard metropolitan statistical areas are then randomly selected in proportion to the total national population.
Polls taken for the purpose of providing information on an opponent that would lead respondents to vote against that candidate.
Continuous surveys that enable a campaign to chart its daily rise or fall in support.
Polls conducted as voters leave selected polling places on Election Day.
Margin of Error
A measure of the accuracy of a public opinion poll.
The coherent set of values and beliefs about the purpose and scope of government held by groups and individuals.
Elements of Public Opinion
2) Recognizable group concerned about issue
3) Complex of Preferences
4) Expression of Opinion
5) Sufficient number of people involved
What you learn first, you learn best. What you learn early structures other learning.
Agents of Early Socialization
Family, Primary and Secondary School, Various Youth Groups (Ex: 4H, FFA, Daughters of Revolution), Friends
Agents of Later Socializtion
College, Fellow People (Workers, Spouse, Club Members), Political Leaders, Maturing
Political Values and Social Groups
Education, Income Levels, Region, Ethnicity and Race, Religion
Factors that contribute to your opinion formality
Self-Interest, Political Information (Most americans do not have information), Political Leadership (Likes and Dislikes of Political Leaders effect us)
Process of transmitting information from one group to another. Vehicle of communication between government and people.
Process by which individuals or groups transmit info to large heterogeneous groups.
Different Mass Media
Print- Written word (Newspaper, Magazines)
Broadcast- Spoken Word (News)
Functions of News Media
Report news, Interpret news, Socializing people, Influencing citizens' attitudes and behavior, Set agenda for political action
3 Ways President Communicates with Press
1) Press Release
2) Press Briefing
3) News Conference
On the Record
Can attribute information to a certain person
Off the Record
Source wants you to know but can't use it unless you find another person who says it.
Communication from people to government
Important because it tells the government what the majority is thinking and can act with the majority.
Why have free media?
Founding fathers believed free media helps democracy because
1) Communication is a tool even from people to government
2) Media tries to find corruption
3) Media also highlights ideas that need to be highlighted
4) Media sets political agenda
Media tries to find corruption
This makes government responsible for actions.
Media highlights ideas that need highlighting
Ex: Civil Right act
(would this really have passed without the media highlighting discrimination)
Media helps set up political agenda
The media helps tell government what is important
The myriad relationships that individuals enjoy that facilitate the resolution of community problems through collective action.
The tendency to form small-scale associations for the public good.
An organized group that tries to influence public policy.
The theory that political power is distributed among a wide array of diverse and competing interest groups.
The theory that interest groups form in part to counteract the efforts of other groups.
The theory that public policies are the result of narrowly defined exchanges among political actors.
Population Ecology Theory
The theory that the life of a political organization is conditional on the density and diversity of the interest group population in a given area.
Kinds of Organized Interests
1) Public Interest
2) Economic Interest
3) Governmental Units
4) Political Action Committees
Public Interest Groups
An organization that seeks a collective good that will not selectively and materially benefit group members
Economic Interest Group
A group with the primary purpose of promoting the financial interests of its members. 90% of Interest Groups
Funds that an appropriations bill designates for a particular purpose within a state or congressional district.
Political Action committee (PAC)
Federally regulated, officially registered fund-raising committee that represents interest groups in the political process. Were created to give money to groups because people couldn't give money to them.
Interest group representative who seeks to influence legislation that will benefit his or her organization or client through political persuasion.
A group that represents a specific industry.
The activities of a group or organization that seeks to influence legislation and persuade political leaders to support the group's position.
Something of value that cannot be withheld from a nonmember of a group, for example, a tax write-off or a better environment.
Free rider problem
Potential members fail to join a group because they can get the benefit, or collective good, sought by the group without contributing the effort.
Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007
Lobbying reform banning gifts to members of Congress and their staffs, toughening disclosure requirements, and increasing time limits on moving from the federal government to the private sector.
Why form interest groups?
Culture Explanation-Humans are social creatures
Idea that you need a leader who understands and takes the risks that go along with interest groups.
Government Related Interest Groups
Groups formed by government to lobby federal government.
Functions of Interest Groups
4) Agenda Building
5) Program Monitering
Representation of Interest Groups
Represent the interest of the members
Participation of Interest Groups
Another way to participate in government
Education by Interest Groups
Educate members on what is going on. Educate people in community about group. Educate government by giving info to government.
Agenda Building by Interest Groups
Groups work to get ideas or interests on national agenda
Program Monitoring by Interest Groups
Monitor government on issues of interest to make sure being done properly.
Methods of Influencing
1) Direct Lobbying
2) Information Campaigns
3) Grassroots Lobbying
1) Lobbying-Standing around lobby and approaching people
2) Testifying before Government-Make statements to try to get bill changed
3) Draft Regulations-Lobbying people who write regulations
4) Litigate-Take group to court.
"Friend of Court" - Filled out by groups who aren't part of case but are interested in case. Can have effect on courts.
Get info to candidates.
Ex: Hold Press Conference, sponsor research, talk with media
Members at large are asked to communicate directly. Ex: Letter writing, calling, email, demonstrating marches.
Problems with Interest Groups
Threat of Violence.
Assumptions of Pluralists on Interest Groups
1) Everyone has equal access
2) All groups have sufficient resources
3) Fair competition between groups
People are afraid that groups that aren't heard will go toward violence. Campaign contribution is essentially bribery.
Campaign Act 1974
Public finances of presidential elections. It limited contributions from groups.
Money spent on a candidate but separate from campaign.
Buckley v. Valeo (1976)
The court ruled that money spent by an individual or political committee in support or opposition of a candidate was a form of symbolic speech, and therefore could not be limited under the first amendment.
Government Interference in Print
Government does not intervene with print unless it violates national security.
Federal Communication Act of 1934
Related to the licensing of Radio.
On the Background
Can use but cannot attribute to the person.
An organized effort by office holders, candidates, activists, and voters to pursue their common interests by gaining and exercising power through the electoral process.
Winner-take all system
An electoral system in which the party that receives at least one more vote than any other party wins the election.
Election in which voters decide which of the candidates within a party will represent the party in the general election
A primary election in which only a party's registered voters are eligible to vote.
A primary in which party members, independents, and sometimes members of the other party are allowed to vote.
Outside the constitution because constitution says nothing about political parties. Parties are not interest groups!
5 Electoral Functions of Parties
1) Integrate diverse interest into a unified political coefficient
2) Prime tool for recruiting and teaching candidates
3) Nominate Candidates for election
4) Structure Voting Choice
5) Propose alternate government programs
2 Government functions of Parties
1) Coordinate actions of government officials and give coherency to policy.
2) Help make government responsible to people.
Like open, all ballets, no need to announce but can cross party vote. Alaska and Washington State.
Causes of decline of Parties
1) Primary Elections- Primary voters are extreme and elect inappropriate candidates.
2) Media - Candidates do not meet people now
3) Candidates hire own staff rather then use party staff
4) Single issue Interest groups persuade candidates