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Social Policy and the Political Process
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Social Policy and the Political Process

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  1. Social Policy and the Political Process What’s happening on Super Tuesday?

  2. Grass-roots organizing on the Internet (advocacy group formation, use of listservs, web pages, and social networking sites). Building of social movements and powerful advocacy organizations. • Influence of bloggers – political opinions and news reporting by nonprofessional journalists. • Posting of candidate and other political videos used to influence public opinion – used to reach audiences that may not respond to traditional media sources. • Alternative or independent media on the Internet - some use of “citizen journalists.” • Automated cartoons circulated on Internet – political opinion. • “Comedy” or fake news sources – need some understanding and information from mainstream sources to fully understand. Powerful enough that candidates and other decision-makers participate on these news shows. Technology and Politics

  3. Reaches nontraditional and younger audiences. • Expands sources of information – allows people to sample from diverse opinions and perspectives. • Allows people to have access to international sources. • Increases the chances that people from different geographic areas can communicate. • Increases civic engagement and political participation. • Both civic engagement and political participation are believed to help build a stronger society – with people actively involved in political decision-making (see for example, Robert Putman, “Bowling Alone”). • Young people and communities of color have traditionally been under represented in the voting process and may feel alienated – that government does not represent their interest. • Helps campaigns and advocacy groups raise funds from affluent voters very quickly. However, as in the Ron Paul campaign, fundraising power may not translate into political power or votes. • Participation in voting increases the political power of various interest and demographic groups. ADVANTAGES

  4. Elderly and low income people may not have access to the Internet • Government agencies and interest groups that represent middle and upper income people may assume that there is equal Internet or cable access for all when this is not the case. • Interest groups representing marginalized people may not have adequate funding that allow them to maximize their use of technology. • Contact and group formation over the Internet may not be as effective as face-to-face communication. Disadvantages

  5. ‘08 campaign example (

  6. Historically, some groups have been excluded from voting and citizenship. [Segregation in the south; Chinese Exclusion Act, Native Americans on reservations prohibited from voting until the 1940’s]. • Impoverished communities in large cities (such as Chicago and New York) historically had access to voting controlled by powerful political organizations [machines]. City jobs awarded based on who you voted for. • Voter registration and other state regulations on voting that often worked to exclude low income people or persons of color from actually voting. Why are people under represented in the political process?

  7. Voter ID cards required in some states – when IDs are required, persons of color may be asked for multiple pieces of identification or it may be financially difficult to obtain a picture ID. • Concern about electronic voting machines and about use of antiquated voting machines and other equipment in communities of color or low income areas. • Exclusion of people with felony convictions from the voting process in some states. • Some jurisdictions reluctant to follow Federal laws and make ballots available in languages other than English. • Lack of accessibility in some polling places for persons with disabilities. • Use of push polling, inaccurate information about polling places or hours, or deliberate dissemination of false information about voting procedures and candidates. Current barriers to voting

  8. Primaries in 24 states • Some of these states have winner “take all” primaries. • Some states divide delegates based on percentage of votes for each candidate. • Delegates vote for “their” candidates at a national convention. • Some “super delegates” (party officials, office holders) have already been chosen. Some are committed to candidates; some will shift their votes in response to the primary results. Information about Super Tuesday

  9. California grants delegates based on the number of candidates in the race and the proportion of votes they receive in each Congressional District. • The number of delegates per district is based on voter turnout in the previous presidential race. • However, 33% of delegates in the Democratic primary go to the winner of the popular vote. See description of delegate allocation: The primary in California

  10. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, American Samoa ***Note: A few states have primaries or caucuses on Feb 5 only for one of the major parties (Democrat or Republican) Super Tuesday States

  11. Size of state: Larger states have more delegates. • Candidates are expected to win their “home” state. • TV networks and other media report on “exit polling” in key precincts and try to project the winner before final results are presented. Exit polls also give information on voter demographics (age, gender, income, religion, party affiliation) and how people in those key groups voted. What to look for in TV coverage

  12. Network vote projections of the winner versus “too close to call” races. • Proportion of the vote reported. • How key demographic groups vote versus how they were expected to vote. For example, Evangelical Christians are expected to vote for Huckabee, older people are expected to vote for McCain and Clinton, women (especially low income or working class white women) are expected to vote for Clinton. Younger Democratic voters are expected to vote for Obama. African American voters are expected to vote for Obama. To some extent Latino voters are expected to vote for Clinton, but recent political polls suggest vote margin may not be as big as previous polling indicated. • Independent (decline to state party) voters will be a factor in states in which Independents are permitted to vote in Party primaries. In California, only the Democratic and American Independent Party parties permit Independents to vote in their primaries. Analysis of results. Commentators look for:

  13. Number of states won by each candidate. • Whether eastern states are won by Clinton (i.e. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts etc). • Whether mid-west and southern states are won by Obama. • Whether Huckabee wins or comes close to winning southern states (should probably help Romney). • Which of the candidates win the big states. • Do any of the candidates lose their home states? • Initial projects of California votes (should occur after polls close at 8 p.m.) McCain expected to win California for Republicans. Obama and Clinton expected to split the vote in California. What we will try to look for:

  14. Amount of paid advertising bought by each candidate. • Amount of money raised. • Voter turn out on election day (weather can be a factor). • Number of people who voted absentee or early. [Older people who are more conservative are most likely to vote by mail – Democratic polls in California suggest a low percentage of Democratic primary voters have voted by mail] • Endorsements and momentum going into Election Day. Additional factors of concern: