American Government and Organization PS1301 Tuesday, 14 September

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  • American Government and OrganizationPS1301Tuesday, 14 September0

  • OutlineReview ideologyDiscuss nature of public opinionThe problem of low voter turnout

  • Who are the Liberals?PoorLow EducationLow Strata OccupationMinorityUrbanJew, CatholicDemocrats

  • Who are the Conservatives?WealthyHigh EducationHigh Status OccupationWhiteSuburbanProtestantRepublican

  • Minimum Wage

  • Homosexuals Serving in the Military

  • Ideology and Issues

  • Nature and Acquisition of Opinions and ValuesProcess by which one acquires values and develops opinions is called socialization.Agents of socializationFamily and FriendsSchoolNews mediaLifetime Learning: new jobs, new friends, new neighborhoods

  • Measuring Public OpinionNon-probability vs. probability sampling(for public opinion polling methods see Box 6-1, p.190)

  • Principle of Probability SamplingA sample will be representative of the population from which it is selected if all members of the population have an equal chance of being selected in the sample. We can do this by selecting respondents randomly; each respondent has an equal chance of being selectedAccuracy is a function of sample size (and proportion).Accuracy is also a function of the way the question is worded (more on this later) as well as context

  • Question wording: Example of AbortionHard reasonswomens health seriously threatenedrapebirth defectsSoft reasonslow incomenot married and does not want to marrymarried but does not want more childreninterfered with work or education

  • Question wording Should abortion be legal as it is now, or legal only in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, or should it not be permitted at all?48% legal as it is now43% limited to rape, incest, health of mother9% not permitted at all

    Source: CBS/NYT January 1989

  • Question wordingDo you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal under certain circumstances, or illegal under all circumstances?28% legal53% under certain circumstances19% illegal

    Source: Gallup/Newsweek January 1989

  • DifferencesSame time, same sample. Why the difference? Respondents were not given the same alternatives. Explicitly state circumstances that fit the hard reasons.

  • Other ExamplesIf a woman wants to have an abortion and her doctor agrees to it, should she be allowed to have an abortion or not? Yes 65%Please tell me whether or not it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if she wants it for any reason? Yes 36%Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Every woman who wants to have an abortion should be able to have one? Agree 61%Please tell me whether or not it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if she wants it for any reason. Yes 41%

  • Opinion on Abortion

  • Views on Abortion by Religion

  • Voter TurnoutLower for congressional elections than Presidential electionsDecline in voter turnoutHow low is it? Does it matter?The role of age and education

  • Decline in Turnout

  • Turnout in Comparative Perspective


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