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Public Opinion. Chapter 8.1 and 8.2. What is Public Opinion?. Public opinion – those attitudes held by a significant number of people on matters of government and politics. Public affairs – those events and issues that concern the people at large. Influences in Political Socialization.

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public opinion

Public Opinion

Chapter 8.1 and 8.2

what is public opinion
What is Public Opinion?
  • Public opinion – those attitudes held by a significant number of people on matters of government and politics.
  • Public affairs – those events and issues that concern the people at large
influences in political socialization
Influences in Political Socialization
  • Family – Children learn from their parents
  • Schools – teach American values
  • Mass Media -newspapers, magazines, radio, internet, and television. Americans spend a lot of time “tuned in”
influences in political socialization1
Influences in Political Socialization
  • Peer groups- the people with whom you regularly associate tend to reinforce your own beliefs
  • Opinion leaders – any person who has an unusually strong influence on the views of others
influences in political socialization2
Influences in Political Socialization
  • Historic events – Examples:
    • The Great Depression led people to think government should have a bigger role in assisting the public
    • Nixon’s Watergate scandal decreased the public’s trust in government
    • What are some examples from your lifetime?
writing break 5 minutes
Writing Break (5 minutes)
  • On a piece of paper write down two issues that interests you.
  • Write a sentence about each one, explaining your stance on the issue.
  • Decide which factor – family, school, peer group, opinion leader, event, or mass media – had the most influence on that stance.
measuring public opinion
Measuring Public Opinion
  • Elections give citizens the opportunity to express themselves at the ballot box.
  • A party and its victories candidates claim to have received a mandate to carry out their campaign promises.
  • Interest Groups – private organizations whose members share certain views and objectives and work to shape the making of the content of public policy.
measuring public opinion1
Measuring Public Opinion
  • Public opinion polls – devices that attempt to collect information by asking people questions. They were not very scientific until the 1930’s.
  • Straw vote - asking the same question of a large number of people. 1936 election, Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Alfred Landon.
measuring public opinion2
Measuring Public Opinion
  • Scientific polling – 5 steps
    • Define the universe to be surveyed
    • Construct a sample
    • Prepare valid questions
    • Interviewing, select and control how the poll will be taken
    • Analyze and report finding to the public
polling key terms
Polling Key Terms
  • Universe – the whole population the poll aims to measure
  • Sample – a representative slice of the total universe
    • Random sample – interview randomly selected people in randomly selected locations
    • Quota sample – constructed to reflect several of the major characteristics of a given universe
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