Study Guide Pol101 Exam 3

Topics: Government, Opinion poll, Sociology Pages: 47 (14073 words) Published: April 21, 2012
Chapter 10
* Political socialization, political culture, public opinion, political ideology – what the terms mean, how they differ

Public Opinion: The attitudes of individuals regarding their political leaders and institutions as well as political and social issues -A mechanism that quantifies the carious opinions held by the population or by subgroups of the population at a particular point in time

Political Ideology: A consistent set of beliefs that forms a general philosophy regarding the proper goals, purposes, functions, and size of government -Liberals and Conservatives

Public Socialization: The conscious and unconscious transmission of political culture and values from one generation to another -It is the process by which people learn political information, organize political knowledge, and develop political values -It occurs continuously

Political Culture: The norms, customs, and beliefs, that help citizens understand appropriate ways to act in a political system; also, the shares attitudes about how government should operate

* Nature of public opinion and its role in public policy

The Relationship Between Public Opinion and Public Policy
-Some authorities believe that public opinion should have little influence on the behavior and decision making of our leaders -They argue that democracies need to limit the influence of the people, allowing the better-informed and more educated leaders to chart our path -Others argue that the views of the people should be given great weight, as a representative democracy needs to pay attention to the will of the people -Those who believe that democracies need to limit the ability of the public to influence events argue that information must be controlled and narrowly shared -Leaders should do the thinking and the planning, and the masses should step up occasionally to select their leaders in periodic elections and spend the rest of their time as spectators -Many analysts are concerned that public opinion changes too easily and that people are too busy to pay attention to politics -People are lacking in interest, not in intelligence

-Some researches have found evidence to support the notion that it might be best for leaders to minimize the impact of public opinion and to allow citizens to influence policymakers primarily through elections -This elitism was forthrightly expressed in the early days of our republic, but it is not widely acknowledged among political leaders and commentators today -Elitism: The theory that a select few—better educated, more informed, and more interested—should have more influence than others in our governmental process Historical Views

-The founders, on the whole, thought that too much influence was given to the preferences of the people under the Articles of Confederation
-The Articles created a system that was responsive to the broad public but not receptive to the elite -In the new constitutional system they created, the founders reacted nu diminishing the relationship between the government and public opinion -The new system was designed to impose a sort of waiting period on the masses, reflecting the thought that officials should shape public opinion, not respond to it -The founders saw the government as our guardian, protecting us from ourselves -They did believe that long-held views—those that lasted over the presidential term and the staggered Senate elections—should affect the course of government -They were more concerned with curbing transient (“here today, gone tomorrow”) opinions, which they views as “common” -Today as we have become more educated and have adopted a political system with universal adult suffrage, people have come to expect their government to be open and responsive Contemporary Considerations

-In direct opposite to this elitist theory—and by far the more commonly held view of contemporary political leaders and political scientist—has been a position based on...
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