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Public Opinion/The Media. For Next Time. Liberal Source O’Connor and Sabato 15, 12 Enduring Debate Sections 41,42,44-46 264 #1 293 1-3. The Ugly- Literary Digest Poll. 1936 Election Over 1 Million Respondents Predicts Alf Landon Win Problem- Selecting Participants

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for next time
For Next Time
  • Liberal Source
  • O’Connor and Sabato 15, 12
  • Enduring Debate Sections 41,42,44-46
  • 264 #1
  • 293 1-3
the ugly literary digest poll
The Ugly- Literary Digest Poll
  • 1936 Election
  • Over 1 Million Respondents
  • Predicts Alf Landon Win
  • Problem- Selecting Participants
  • Problem- Low response rate
  • Problem- Too far in advance of election
polling and democracy
Polling and Democracy
  • Verba- Allows voices to be heard that would not otherwise
  • Allows greater detail on wishes of public than elections would.
  • Dryzek- Empowers status quo
  • Does not allow spontaneous expression of opinion
the uses of polls
The Uses Of Polls
  • The media
  • Election Forecasting
  • By the public
  • By politicians
    • To inform policy
    • To sell policy
  • By Interest groups
public opinion and representation
Public Opinion and Representation
  • Large shifts in opinion -> changes in policy
  • District level Congruence in some policy domains
    • Strongest in states with referendum
public opinion and representation1
Public Opinion and Representation
  • Can reign in lobbyists
  • When is public opinion influential?
  • When it sends a clear message
  • When it moves dramatically
  • When Issue is Salient
  • Limits
    • Not all issues salient
    • Public opinion shifts
public opinion and elections
Public Opinion and Elections
  • Surveys allow for forecasting
  • Can enable strategic voting
  • Large impact on fundraising
  • Horse race coverage
presidential approval
Presidential Approval
  • “Do you generally approve of the way ________ is handling his job as president?”
  • Important resource
  • Increased Bargaining Power
  • More successful with congress
  • Success brings success
sources of approval or lack thereof
Sources of Approval (or lack thereof)
  • The economy
    • Both current performance and expectations
    • Economy as a whole more important than personal
  • Presidential “drama”
  • War/foreign policy
  • Media Coverage
  • Priming
    • Focusing attention on particular areas
    • Can help or hurt overall approval
political trust
Political Trust
  • Most of the time, can you trust government to do the right thing?
  • Trend- Generally decreasing
  • Similar trend for other institutions as well
  • Sources?
  • Policy Dissatisfaction
  • Increasing gap between promises/results
  • Political Scandal/Media
political trust1
Political Trust
  • Consequences
  • Decreased Turnout?
  • Electoral Choice
    • Benefits 3rd party candidates and challengers
  • Difficulty building policy support
tolerance
Tolerance
  • A willingness to tolerate the presence of ideas that you do not agree with
  • Stouffer 1955
  • 80-90% of respondents support abstract liberties
  • 30-35% support applications of those liberties
  • The more educated more likely to be tolerant
tolerance1
Tolerance
  • More recent work
  • Gap between abstract and applied
  • Gap between educated and not?
  • Different groups-> different results
  • When allowed to pick groups they don’t like, more educated nearly as intolerant
  • Americans not much more tolerant than in the 50s?
the media
The Media
  • Organizations that provide information to the public
  • Information on politics
  • Information on events
  • Information on conditions
past media research
Past Media Research
  • Started in late 40s as a response to WWII
  • Authoritarian Personality- Personality and Supporting Fascism
  • Early Media- Propaganda and support for fascism
past media research1
Past Media Research
  • “Hypodermic Needle” model
  • Still assumed in much of popular political discourse
  • Generally not supported by research
past media research2
Past Media Research
  • Minimal Effects Model
  • 50’s-80’s
  • Media had very little impact on public opinion.
    • No evidence of direct persuasion
    • In campaigns, Party ID was main factor determining vote choice
    • Limited volatility
past media research3
Past Media Research
  • McClure and Patterson The Unseeing Eye
  • “Television’s Image making power is a myth.”
  • “The only noticeable effect of campaign news is an increased tendency among voters to view politics in the same trivial terms that the newscasts depict it. Regular viewers of network news are likely to describe an election campaign as a lot of nonsense rather than a choice between fundamental issues”
modern media and public opinion
Modern Media and Public Opinion
  • Iyengar and Kinder: News That Matters
  • Subtle Effects
  • Agenda Setting
  • Priming
  • Framing
agenda setting
Agenda Setting
  • News not so great at telling what to think
  • But powerful at telling people what to think about
  • Increased media attention to an issue increases importance placed on it
  • Can trump personal experiences
agenda setting1
Agenda Setting
  • Health care- in 90s-78% of people satisfied with their care, but large majorities think there is a health care crisis
  • Crime- In 90s- Crime decreased, crime coverage increased, 50% of public thinks crime is increasing
  • Fear of crime- Not related to victimhood, knowing a crime victim, strongly related to how much TV you watch
agenda setting2
Agenda Setting
  • Hypothesis- those problems receive prominent attention on the national news become the problems the viewing public regard as the nations most important
  • Implicit- More coverage-> more importance
  • Other factors may make story prominent too
vivid cases
Vivid Cases
  • Does telling of the story have an impact?
  • Presentation of vivid story (With human interest story) or pallid story (statistics)
  • Expectation- Vividness will be more likely to set the agenda
  • Mixed results
  • In most cases, vivid no more effective, if not less
  • In stories with race, strong negative impact on agenda setting if person portrayed is black
lead stories
Lead Stories
  • Another facet of presentation
  • Expectation- First story will be viewed as more important than later stories
  • We all have expectations about where stories go in broadcast/paper
  • Mostly confirmed
  • This varies by medium- E.G. On internet, less of an agenda setting effect
agenda setting3
Agenda Setting
  • Health care
  • 80%- My Doctor Usually Explains things to me
  • 50%- Doctors Usually Explain things to their patients
  • 65%- Doctors are too interested in making money
  • 25%- My doctor is too interested in making money
  • Crime- In 90s- Crime decreased, crime coverage increased, 50% of public thinks crime is increasing
  • Fear of crime- Not related to victimhood, knowing a crime victim, strongly related to how much TV you watch
agenda setting importance
Agenda Setting-Importance
  • Perceptions of national problems more politically important than perceptions of personal problems
  • Problem- Media Coverage can lead to misperceptions
  • Problem- Possible manipulation
  • Upside- Allow people to consider more than own experiences
  • Upside- Can highlight significant problems
priming
Priming
  • Def: The standards citizens use to judge a president [or other figure] may be substantially by which stores newscasts choose to cover, and consequently, which considerations are made generally accessible
  • Coverage does not necessarily change overall evaluation, changes criteria of evaluation
  • Overall evaluation may go up or down depending on how president is viewed as doing on a specific domain
priming1
Priming
  • Example- George Bush and Gulf War
  • As war coverage increases, so does approval
  • As economic coverage increases, decreases
  • Irony- Economy not so bad as media portrayals
framing
Framing
  • Because frames permeate public discussions of politics, they in effect teach ordinary citizens how to think about and understand complex social problems... Elites wage a war of frames because they know that if their frame becomes the dominant way of thinking about a problem, then the battle of public opinion has been won”- Nelson and Kinder 1996
framing1
Framing
  • Sniderman’s Value Pluralism Model- People have a number of values that they hold strongly but that are incompatible with one another
  • Issues can tap any of a number of these values
  • Framing can determine which values are deemed relevant for evaluating the issue
klan rally experiment
Klan Rally Experiment
  • Tolerance is a tricky issue
  • Especially the issue of tolerating intolerance
  • Two sets of values
    • Free Speech
    • Public Safety
  • Which values applied make difference for whether people support right to march
framing effects
Framing Effects
  • Sexual Psychopaths
  • Military in Iraq
  • Health Care
  • Abortion
who is susceptible to media effects
Who is Susceptible to Media Effects?
  • Those who are exposed
    • Moderate exposure
  • Those who are moderately aware
  • Those who are trusting of the media
  • Political moderates?
media and elections
Media and Elections
  • Intense Coverage
  • Horse Race Journalism
  • Public Dissatisfaction
media bias
Media Bias
  • The Problem- disconnect with reality
  • Perception- Liberal bias
  • Racial Bias?
  • Class bias?
  • Audience bias
news norms
News Norms
  • Impartiality
  • Equal Time
  • Conflict
  • Novelty
media types
Media Types
  • Newspapers
  • Broadcast Media
  • Radio
  • Narrowcasting?
  • Cable
  • Internet
internet and politics
Internet And Politics
  • Wide range of viewpoints
  • Interactive
  • Paradox- Loss of civil society?
  • Reinforcement of views
  • More of the Same?
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