PUBLIC OPINION. Outline of Lecture. What is public opinion and why should we care about it? What do Americans think and know about politics? How do people organize their political beliefs? How do we measure public opinion? Where do people’s opinions come from?
- V. O. Key (prominent political scientist)
First, some definitions…
Ideology = Consistent pattern of opinion on particular issues that stems from a core basic belief.
1. “Ideology” is used by only a part of the public.
2. The underlying logic is not theoretical, but associative.
3. Weak conceptualization.
4. Ideological thinking seems susceptible to change.
POLICY MOOD, 1958-2000
HOW DO POLITICIANS KNOW THE PUBLIC?
Where do opinions come from?
opinions = dispositions + information
political sophisticationPart 1: A MODEL OF OPINION CHANGE
Bush has trouble eating pretzels.
“W.“ promised to crack down on corporate fraud.
Bush seems weak on the economy.Part 2: FORMING OPINIONS
Gore looks like Bigfoot.
Al is a pal of education.
Gore seems like a
policy wonk.FORMING OPINIONS – Competing Model
IS PUBLIC OPINION MEANINGFUL?
Do you buy into the “low information rationality” arguments?