Glossary of american Government Unit 4, chapture 10 (TCN)
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- An ideology that calls for central government control of a society's economic, political, and social systems.
- Widespread agreement among the general public with respect to an issue.
- An ideology that calls for the government to play a limited role in the regulation of the economy but an active role in the promotion of traditional values.
- A comprehensive set of political beliefs about human nature, society, and the proper role of government.
- An ideology that emphasizes individual liberty in all areas.
- An ideology that emphasizes the rights of individuals in terms of their relationship with the government.
- In politics, the means of communicating with the public.
- political culture
- The general attitudes, beliefs, and values that a society holds with regard to its politics and government.
- political socialization
- The process by which individuals acquire political values and attitudes.
- A term that embodies those political movements that have broad support among the masses and clain to act in the interests of the majority of the people.
- public opinion
- The aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs toward a given issue or question.
- public opinion poll
- A scientific method for estimating public opinion on a given issue or question by relying upon the use of random samples of a population.
- random sampling
- The method of selecting a sample in which every member of the population has an equal chance of being included. This helps ensure that the sample is representative.
- An ideology that calls for an active government role in the economy and in the provision of basic welfare needs.
- An effort by a politician, public official, party, or group to interpret political events in a way that is favorable to them.
- straw polls
- Unofficial public opinion polls that are not based upon representative samples.
- How do scientific public opinion polls differ from straw polls?
- Unlike straw polls, scientific public opinion polls are based upon random, representative samples.
- How does the method of random sampling increase the accuracy of public opinion polls?
- Random sampling helps to ensure that a sample is representative by making it such athat every member of a population has an equal chance of being selected to participate in a poll.
- In 1936, Literary Digest wrongly predicted that Alfred Landon would beat FDR in the race for presidency. How was the magazine's polling method flawed?
- When conducting this poll, Literary Digest contacted millions of people, but these people came primarily from its subscription list. Because these subscribers tended to be wealthier than the public at large, the sample polled by the magazine was not representative of the entire population of the US.
- Are large samples better than small samples in the production of accurate public opinion polls?
- No. A large sample does not necessarily mean that a poll will be accurate. The most important factor in developing accurate polling techniques is to ensure that the sample is representative. As small, representative sample is far better than a large, unrepresentative one.
- Explain the following statement: Public opinion influences politicians, and politicians influence public opinion.
- This statement indicates that there is an interactive relationship between politicians and public opinion. Polls often shape the positions adopted by politicians, especially when there are dramatic shifts in public opinion. In this way, public opinion has an impact on the public agenda. At the same time, however, politicians make great efforts to shape public opinion. They frequently conduct their own polls that are designed to produce certain outcomes, and they then use these results to advance their positions on specific issues.
- What kind of factors can lead to bias in public opinion polls?
- A variety of factors can lead to bias in public opinion polls, including the types of questions that are asked as well as the manner in which these questions are posed. The wording of questions and the order of possible answers can also affect respondents' replies. In addition, there is no way to prevent respondents from lying or answering poll questions incorrectly.
- How does political culture differ from public opinion?
- Political culture refers to the general attitudes, beliefs, and values that a society holds with regard to its politics and government, whereas public opinion refers to the public's beliefs toward specific issues or questions.
- What are several basic values that scholars identify as part of American political culture?
- Scholars identify several values as fundamental parts of American political culture, including commitments to individualism, freedom, private property, and equality of opportunity.
- Identify and briefly describe the 2 primary ideological perspectives that have shaped American political culture.
- The 2 primary ideoplogical perspectives that have shaped American political culture are liberalism and conservatism. Liberalism emphasizes the rights of individuals in their relationship with the government. Traditionally, liberalism emphasized the right of people to be free from government interference in thier economic, social, and political lives. Today, however, liberalism calls for liberty from government interference in private affairs and for government action to uphold basic rights. On the other hand, conservatism calls for the government to play a limited role in the regulation of the economy but an active role in promotion of traditional values.
- What is populism and how has it influenced American politics?
- Populism is a term that is used to describe those political movements with broad support among the masses, especially the poor and the working class. Populist movements have had a strong tradition on both sides of the American political spectrum. Left-leaning populist movements have contributed to calls for progressive taxation, while right-leaning populist movements have been prominent in defending popular conservative causes, such as limitations on immigration and publicly sanctioned school prayer.
- List the factors that shape political socialization. Which of these factors is generally considered the strongest influence in this process?
- The factors that influence political socialization include family, peer groups, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education, and the generational effects of major political events. Family is widely considered the most significant influence on political socialization.
- What is spin?
- Spin refers to the efforts of politicians, public officials, political parties, and various groups to interpret events in ways that are favorable to them.
- What medium has an especially important impact on politics? Why?
- Television. Most Americans rely upon television for political information; thus, politicians have developed sophisticated techniques for conveying their political messages in a television-friendly manner. In general, the television format leads to the coverage of politics as entertainment rather than a process of sober, complex deliberations. One notable effect of this format is politicians' increasing reliance upon sound bites designed to fit into television news broadcasts and capture public attention in a dramatic way appropriate to t he medium. TV has also contrributed to the shift toward candidate-centered as opposed to issue-oriented political campaigns.
- Briefy discuss some of the major criticisms of the media.
- Critics argue that because the media are owned primarily by for-profit companies, they do not report the news in an independent manner. These critics believe that the media avoid controversial topics or positions, especially those that criticize corporate practices. They also charge that the media engage in sensationalism because of a desire for high ratings or broad readership. In addition, while many analysts charge that the media reflect political bias, there is no consensus as to what kind of bias this is.
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