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Unit 2: Political Beliefs and Behaviors. Chapter 6: Public Opinion and Political Action Chapter 9: Nominations and Campaigns Chapter 10: Elections and Voting Behavior. Civic Virtue and Participation. How Can Someone Participate?. Conventional Voting Campaigns Contacting elected officials

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unit 2 political beliefs and behaviors

Unit 2: Political Beliefs and Behaviors

Chapter 6: Public Opinion and Political Action

Chapter 9: Nominations and Campaigns

Chapter 10: Elections and Voting Behavior

how can someone participate
How Can Someone Participate?
  • Conventional
    • Voting
    • Campaigns
    • Contacting elected officials
  • Unconventional
    • Protest
    • Civil Disobedience
    • Boycotts
how political socialization and other factors influence opinion formation
How Political Socialization and other Factors Influence Opinion Formation
  • Political Socialization
    • The process through which an individual acquires particular political orientations
    • The learning process by which people acquire their political beliefs and values
why do people vote
Why do People Vote?
  • Political Efficacy
  • Civic Duty
  • Voter Registration
    • Motor Voter Act-1993
agents of socialization
Agents of Socialization
  • Family
  • School and Peers
  • Mass Media
  • Religious Beliefs
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Region
retrospective voting
Retrospective Voting

What have you done for me lately?

political knowledge
Political Knowledge
  • Political knowledge and political participation have a reciprocal relationship.
  • Level of knowledge about history and politics low
    • Hurts Americans’ understanding of current political events
  • Geographically illiterate
  • Gender differences
causes of the decline in voter turnout
Causes of the Decline in Voter Turnout

Reading-Why voter turnout has declined

Bowling Alone

winner take all vs proportional
Winner Take All vs. Proportional

Single Member Congressional Districts

types of elections
Types of Elections






the party organizations
The Party Organizations
  • The 50 State Party Systems
    • Closed primaries: Only people who have registered with the party can vote for that party’s candidates.
    • Open primaries: Voters decide on Election Day whether they want to vote in the Democrat or Republican primary.
    • Blanket primaries: Voters are presented with a list of candidates from all parties.
    • State parties are better organized in terms of headquarters and budgets than they used to be.
primaries v caucuses
Primaries v. Caucuses
  • Over years, trend has been to use primaries rather than caucuses to choose delegates
  • Caucus is the oldest, most party-oriented method of choosing delegates to the national conventions
  • Arguments for primaries
    • More democratic
    • More representative
    • A rigorous test for the candidate
  • Arguments for caucuses
    • Caucus participants more informed; more interactive and informative
    • Unfair scheduling affects outcomes
    • Frontloading (being first in the primary calendar) gives some primary states an advantage
      • Frontloading is the tendency to choose an early date on the primary schedule


      • Delegate slot to the Democratic Party’s national convention that is reserved for an elected party official
    • Some rules originating in Democratic Party have been enacted as state laws thus applying them to the Republican Party as well.
  • Party Realignment
    • Critical
    • Deviling (blip)
    • Reinstating
    • Maintaining
  • Critical Elections
  • Secular Realignment
  • Reading-V.O. Theory of Political Realignment
congressional elections
Congressional Elections


Presidential Coattails



the american people
The American People
  • The Regional Shift
    • Population shift from east to west
    • Reapportionment: the process of reallocating seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years on the basis of the results of the census
sources of political contributions
Sources of Political Contributions
  • Political money regulated by the federal government can come from
    • Individual Contributions
    • Political Action Committee Contributions
    • Political Party Contributions
    • Member-to-Candidate Contributions
    • Candidates’ Personal Contributions
    • Public Funds
      • Donations from the general tax revenues to the campaigns of qualifying presidential candidates
      • Matching funds
      • Availability
money and campaigning
Money and Campaigning
  • The Maze of Campaign Finance Reforms
    • Federal Election Campaign Act (1974)
      • Created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer campaign finance laws for federal elections
      • Created the Presidential Election Campaign Fund
      • Provided partial public financing for presidential primaries
        • Matching funds: Contributions of up to $250 are matched for candidates who meet conditions, such as limiting spending.
      • Provided full public financing for major party candidates in the general election
      • Required full disclosure and limited contributions
money and campaigning1
Money and Campaigning
  • The Maze of Campaign Finance Reforms
    • Soft Money: political contributions (not subject to contribution limits) earmarked for party-building expenses or generic party advertising
    • The McCain-Feingold Act (2002) banned soft money, increased amount of individual contributions, and limited “issue ads.”
    • 527s: independent groups that seek to influence political process but are not subject to contribution restricts because they do not directly seek election of particular candidates
pac s
  • Political Action Committees (PACs): created by law in 1974 to allow corporations, labor unions and other interest groups to donate money to campaigns; PACs are registered with and monitored by the FEC.
  • As of 2006 there were 4,217 PACs.
  • PACs contributed over $372.1 million to congressional candidates in 2006.
  • PACs donate to candidates who support their issue.
  • PACs do not “buy” candidates, but give to candidates who support them in the first place.
the rules of the game campaign finance
The Rules of the Game: Campaign Finance
  • Reform
    • Corrupt Practices, Hatch Act, Taft-Hartley Act
    • Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)
    • Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act 2002
    • Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United
current rules
Current Rules
  • Political money is now regulated by the federal government under terms of BCRA of 2002
    • Outlaws unlimited and unregulated contributions to parties (soft money) and limits the amounts that individual, interest groups and political parties can give to federal candidates