American Government/Answer Key to Review Questions

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Chapter 5: Public Opinion

  • Government not intended to do "what the people want"; Popular rule was only one of several means toward these goals; Large nations feature many "publics" with many "opinions."
  • Importance of wording of questions, affects answers; Questions may focus one side of an issue at the expense of another (benefits / costs); Instability of public opinion
  • The role of the family; Religion; The gender gap; Schooling and information
  • Personal traits: temperament, family, intelligence; Exposure to information on politics; Liberalism of professors
  • 1. Social class: Noneconomic issues now define liberal and conservative; 2. Race and ethnicity: Social class becoming less clear-cut source of political cleavage; Impact of race and ethnicity is less clear; 3. Region: Southerners more conservative than northerners on military and civil rights issues but difference fading overall
  • Ideology: patterned set of political beliefs about who ought to rule, their principles and policies; Most citizens display little ideology; moderates dominate; "Consistency" criterion somewhat arbitrary
  • Economic policy: liberals favor jobs for all, subsidized medical care and education, taxation of rich; Civil rights: liberals prefer desegregation, equal opportunity, etc.; Public and political conduct: liberals tolerant of demonstrations, favor legalization of marijuana, and so on
  • Pure liberals; Pure conservatives; Libertarians; Populists
  • Definition: those who have a disproportionate amount of some valued resource; More information than most people and Peers reinforce consistency and greater difference of opinion than one finds among average voters
  • Raise and form political issues; State norms by which to settle issues, defining policy options; Elite views shape mass views