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2 February, 2010. Voter Orientations. Office hours. Georgios Tuesdays 1-2; 4-5 (A236B) Siim Thursday 2pm-3pm (A232) Friday 10am-11am (A232). Essay Topics. Handout. Review. Institutions and electoral competition Is there a link?. Nature and Acquisition of Opinions and Values.

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2 February, 2010

Voter Orientations


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Office hours

  • Georgios

    • Tuesdays 1-2; 4-5 (A236B)

  • Siim

    • Thursday 2pm-3pm (A232)

    • Friday 10am-11am (A232)


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Essay Topics

  • Handout


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Review

  • Institutions and electoral competition

  • Is there a link?


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Nature and Acquisition of Opinions and Values

Rational choice

Socialization or DNA?


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Nature and Acquisition of Opinions and Values

Process by which one acquires values and develops opinions is called socialization.

Agents of socialization

Family and Friends

School

Media (news, relatively new media, soft news, entertainment)

Lifetime Learning: new jobs, new friends, new neighborhoods


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Nature and Acquisition of Opinions and Values (II)

  • Are we wired to be a liberal or conservative?

  • Twin Studies

    • identical twins were more likely to agree on political issues than were fraternal twins.

    • Taxes - (four-fifths of identical twins shared the same opinion, while only two-thirds of fraternal twins agreed).



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Ideology by Voter Participation

Source: British Election Study, 2005


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Gender and Ideology

Britain

United States

Source: British Election Study, 2005 and American National Election Study, 2008


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Age and Ideology

Britain

United States

Source: British Election Study, 2005 and American National Electoin Study, 2008


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Social Group Basis of Ideology (United States)

Source: Center for American Progress


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The United States as an outlier

Percentage saying they “completely agree” with the following

statement: “It is the responsibility of the state to take care of very poor

people who can’t take care of themselves”


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Attitudes about Taxes and Spending

Source: British Election Study, 2005


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Opinions on Issues

Source: British Election Study, 2005



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Political Engagement

Source: British Election Study, 2005


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Ideology and the Vote

Source: British Election Study, 2005


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The concept of Party Identification

  • Psychological attachment to parties

  • Perceptual screen

  • Habitual attachment to parties that carries over into voting, ie. “party loyalists”

  • Party labels serve as a “cue” or “short cut” for voting particularly in low information elections.


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Measuring Party identification in Canada

  • In federal politics, do you usually think of yourself as a Liberal, Conservative, N.D.P., Reform, Bloc Quebecois, or none of these?

  • How strongly (Liberal, Conservative,N.D.P., Reform, Bloc Quebecois) do you feel, very strongly, fairly strongly,or not very strongly?

  • Do you generally think of yourself as being a little closer to one of the federal parties than the others?

  • Which party is that?


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Measuring Party Identification in the US

  • “Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, and Independent, or what?”

  • Persons who call themselves Republicans or Democrats are then asked: “Would you call yourself a strong (Republican, Democrat) or a not very strong (Republican, Democrat).

  • Persons who call themselves Independents, answer “no preference,” or name another party are asked : “Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican or to the Democratic party?”


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Measuring Party identification in Britain

  • Generally speaking,do you think of yourself as Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish Nationalist Party,Plaid Cymru, Green Party, or what?

  • Do you generally think of yourself as a little closer to one of the parties than the others? IF YES, which party?

  • Would you call yourself very strong (Conservative,Labour,Liberal Democrat, Scottish Nationalist Party,Plaid Cymru,Green Party),fairly strong, or not very strong?





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Trend in Labour Partisanship,April 2004 – March 2008





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Implications - Polarization

  • Electoral competition in the United States now appears to be structured by ideology

  • The American public appears to be increasingly divided into two groups: the politically engaged, who view politics in ideological terms, and the politically disengaged, who do not.

  • In contrast, ideology in Britain is less of factor. Electoral competition is structured around “valence issues” rather than policy differences.


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