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Linkage Institutions. Non Governmental activity that connects the citizen/voter to the government Media Political Parties Campaigns Polling Interest Groups/PACs. Linkage institutions Essential questions Are lobbyists and Political Action Committees (PACs) the essence of

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linkage institutions
Linkage Institutions
  • Non Governmental activity that connects the citizen/voter to the government
    • Media
    • Political Parties
    • Campaigns
    • Polling
    • Interest Groups/PACs

Linkage institutions

  • Essential questions
  • Are lobbyists and Political Action Committees (PACs) the essence of
  • Pluralism or a threat to democracy?
    • Are lobbyists too powerful?
  • Are unlimited campaign contributions free speech or a threat to
  • democracy?
  • Should campaign contributions be limited?
  • Should the US care about voter turnout?
  • In what ways can VTO be increased?
  • Is low VTO a problem?
  • Is a 2 party system the best system for democracy?
    • Why do 3rd parties rarely win?
    • Should the US move to a proportional representation system?
campaign challenges
Campaign Challenges

The News Media

Campaign Financing

Televised Debates



Handling the Press?

PAC Contributions

Personal Contributions

Party Contributions

contributions and expenses
Contributions and Expenses
  • Campaigns are VERY expensive.
  • House races can cost over $1 million but usually cost $400-700,000 for incumbents, less for challengers.
  • Senate races cost much more.
  • All political money is regulated by the federal government under the Federal Elections Campaign Act of 1971, 1974, and 1976.
campaign commercials
Campaign commercials
  • Livingroom Candidate
campaign contributions hard v soft money
Campaign contributionsHard v. Soft Money
  • Soft money is money with no limits or rules that is raised and spent outside of federal election guidelines.
  • Soft money is often used to pay for ads that do not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a particular candidate.
  • As long as these ads do not use the words “vote for,” “elect,” “vote against” or the like, ads can be paid for with unregulated soft money.
  • Many argue that the huge infusion of unregulated soft money has destroyed the federal campaign laws.
personal contributions
Personal Contributions
  • In Buckley v. Valeo(1976)the Supreme Court struck down limits on personal campaign spending. Ross Perot, Steve Forbes, Michael Bloomberg
  • Spending your own money on your campaign is a free speech right.
  • Steve Forbes, Ross Perot, and other wealthy Americans have taken advantage of their personal wealth in their quest for office.

Types of Political Action Committees

and how they work

Colbert SuperPAC

Part 1 and 2

Colbert Super PAC adverts


FEC Limits

Note: Citizens United Decision

do we vote for the candidate or the campaign
Do We Vote for the Candidate or the Campaign?
  • The most important factor in any campaign is the candidate (he/she is even more important than money).
  • Campaigns are able (most of the time) to downplay a candidate’s weaknesses and emphasize her strengths.
  • However, even the best campaigns cannot put an ineffective candidate in the win column – most of the time.
  • Most people vote for a candidate not the campaign.
  • FDR and Henry Waxman
the roots and development of american interest groups
The Roots and Development of American Interest Groups
  • Federalist 10 Madison and Pluralism
  • National Groups Emerge (1830-80)
  • Progressive Era (1890-1920)
    • Organized Labor – the American Federation of Labor (AFL) (1886)
    • Business and Trade Associations – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) (1895)
  • The Rise of the Interest Group State (1960s and 1970s)
    • Religious and Ideological Groups
    • Business Groups, Trade, and Professional Associations
    • Organized Labor
what do interest groups do
What Do Interest Groups Do?
  • The most common and effective interest group technique is lobbying or seeking to influence and persuade others to support your group's position.
  • Lobbyists are hired by your college or university, businesses, foreign countries, trade associations, and anyone else wanting their voice heard on policy matters.
  • A lobbyist is someone whose task it is to influence legislation or policymaking.
interest groups techniques
Direct Techniques:


private meetings


drafting legislation

social occasions

providing political information

supplying nomination suggestions

Indirect Techniques:

Generating Public Pressure

groundswell of public pressure

using constituents as Lobbyists

building alliances with other groups

Interest Groups Techniques
what makes an interest group successful
What Makes an Interest Group Successful?

In general three factors tend to lead to interest group success:

  • Leaders – Having a prominent leader aids in the reputation of the group and enhances a group’s ability to attain its goals.
  • Patrons and Funding – Funding is critical. Without money, it is difficult to get your message out.
  • Members – A group must have members to be successful. Organizing members allows for strength in numbers and pooling of financial support.
criticism of interest groups
Criticism of Interest Groups

Interest Groups have been criticized for

  • ignoring the wider interest of society
  • producing confusion and deadlock in Congress
  • generating so much emotion that they make reasoned discussion difficult
  • having too much influence
seiu advertisement
SEIU Advertisement

Interest Groups

Interest Groups

AARP advertisement

Paul Ryan

  • Swiftboat Vets
  • Bush…but worse
how we measure public opinion
How We Measure Public Opinion

In order for a poll to be reliable, it must have:

  • Proper question wording
  • An accurate sample
    • contacting respondents – Since 95% of Americans have phones, random phone calling would be a valid method.
    • How will the cell phone use impact polling?
measuring public opinion
Measuring Public Opinion
  • In general, do not trust a poll that does not tell you the question wording, the sampling method, and the ways in which respondents were contacted.
  • Reputable pollsters will also tell you the number of respondents (the 'n') and the error rate (+ or - 5%).
  • Any poll that tells you to call 555-5554 for yes and 555-5555 for no is unscientific and unreliable. This is not a random sample at all!
types of polls
Types of Polls
  • Tracking polls--continuous surveys that enable a campaign to chart its daily rise and fall in popularity. These may be a decent measure of trends.
  • Exit polls--polls conducted at polling places on election day.
  • Deliberative polls--a new kind of poll first tried in 1996. A relatively large scientific sample of Americans (600) were selected for intensive briefings, discussions, and presentations about issue clusters including foreign affairs, the family, and the economy.
  • A deliberative poll attempts to measure what the public would think if they had better opportunities to thoughtfully consider the issues first.
  • Push Polling
different kinds of elections
Different Kinds of Elections
  • Primary Elections
  • General Elections
  • Initiative, Referendum, and Recall
    • Initiatives allow citizens to propose legislation and submit it to popular vote.
    • A referendum allows the legislature to submit proposed legislation for popular approval.
    • Recall elections allow citizens to remove someone from office.
patterns of presidential elections
Patterns of Presidential Elections
  • Party Realignmentsare rare occurrences in which existing party affiliations change dramatically.
  • Secular Realignmentis the gradual shifting of party coalitions.

Incumbency advantage – the electoral edge afforded to those already in office…achieved through:

  • Higher visibility
  • Experience
  • Organization
  • Fund-raising ability
  • Daily Show
who votes
Who Votes?
  • Income – people with higher incomes have a higher tendency to vote.
  • Age – older people tend to vote more often than younger people (less than half of eligible 18-24 year olds are registered to vote).
  • Gender – Since 1980, women have a higher tendency to vote for Democrats than Republicans.
  • Race – in general, whites tend to vote more regularly than African-Americans (this may be due to income and education rather than race).