Government Ch. 8

public opinion
the complex collection of opinions of different people; those attitudes held by a significant number of people on matters of government and politics
public
a group of people who hold the same view on some particular issue
public affairs
those events and issues that concern the people at large (politics, public issues, and public policies)
political socialization
begins in early childhood and continues on throughout life, involves all the many experiences and relationships to lead us in the political world and act as we do
family
What is the biggest influence on our public opinion, especially when we are younger?
the monopoly the family has on the child in early years
What is largely the result of the family’s influence?
it is the initial break from family views
Why is school just as big of an influence as family?
mass media, peer groups, opinion leaders, & historical events
What are other factors on public opinion besides family and school?
mass media
means of communication that reach large, widely scattered audiences simultaneously
peer groups
people with whom one regularly associates with including friends, classmates, coworkers, neighbors etc
opinion leaders
a person who, for any reason, has an unusually strong influence on the views of others (public); minority in population
46%
What percentage of voters actually vote?
mandate
refers to the instructions or commends a constituency gives to its elected officials
people seldom vote for someone based on their stand on issues
Why are elections rarely a good measure of public opinion?
interest groups
private organizations whose members share certain views and objectives and work to shape the making and the content of public policy
interest groups
What is the chief way public opinion is made known?
How strongly do these people hold their views?
How many people does an interest group represent?
What do interest groups have trouble determining?
it only represents the opinion of the vocal minority
Why is media an unreliable source for gauging public opinion?
to indicate the position of the public on certain issues
What do public officials use personal contacts from many different forms for?
public opinion polls
devices that attempt to collect info by asking people questions
straw votes
type of unscientific public opinion poll that sought to read the public’s mind simply by asking the same question to a large number of people
it assumed a large number of responses will provide a fairly accurate picture of the public’s views
Why are straw polls unreliable?
Literary Digest (1936), only sent it to car and phone directories in the middle of the Great Depression when the majority were poor
What was the most famous mishap in straw polling?
scientific polling
polls that regularly report public attributes on matters of current issues; can be found in print, on TV, and internet
no; all media are privately owned and operated, not connected to government at all
Is mass media propaganda?
CBS, ABC, NBC
What are the 3 major television news companies?
98%
What percentage of Americans have at least one television in their house?
40%
What percentage of adult Americans read the newspaper?
New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal
What are the 3 main newspapers circulating in our country?
Stephen Hess
Who named the “inner ring” of production agencies for newspapers and television that has the most influence in Washington D.C.? (named the 3 top newspapers and television broadcasters)
NPR (National Public Radio)
What is the PBS of radio?
75%
What percentage of Americans have access to a computer with internet?
public agenda
societal problems that the nation’s political leaders and the general public agree need governmental attention
sound bites
snappy reports that can be aired in 30-45 seconds
party organization has become less important
What is one way that TV has influenced politics?
helping to shape public agenda
How does media influence politics?
newspaper
What type of media is the most in depth coverage of national politics and public affairs?
most TV programs have little or no direct relation with public affairs
most people only pay attention to certain politics
few people follow politics very closely
What are the 3 main limits on media?