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NY Times v. Sullivan
1964-ruled that information just being false is NOT enough to convict; must show that it was published with actual malice or reckless intent
NY Times v. United States
1971-Pentagon Papers-Liberal opponent leaks secret defense documents; ruled that the NYT can publish; the gov't CANNOT impose prior restraint
How to Poll
- 1. Need a sample of people to interview
- 2. It should be just as good as if you polled everyone
- 3. Use a random sample-everyone must have an equal chance of being chosen
- 4. Minimize margin of error (random sampling error)
Reliability of Polls
- -Who sponsored the poll?
- -Who did the polling?
- -Who was interviewed? How many?
- -What questions were asked?
- -How/when were the interviews conducted?
- -What is the margin of error?
Concerns with Polling
- 1. Polls create public opinion: bandwagon effect and illusion of saliency-makes issue seem more important
- 2. Block political participation: push out other forms of opinions
- 3. Polls create a political agenda: ie Gala and Vietnam
- 4. Polls have become news in themselves: polls are the stories-we hear less about issues and candidates, excludes details
- 5. Polls are used as marketing: used to seed the electorate, ask questions but are not interested in the answers-want to start rumors
Other ways to gather public opinion
- -Crowd response
- -Polls following horse races tend to be better
- -Exit polls
asking questions of a small portion of the population in order to gather a public opinion
everyone has an equal shot at being chosen
This may take the form of editorial or peer reviewed bias where only one set of views are allowed and other views discarded out of hand no matter how valid.
Alien and Sedition Acts
1798-Made it a crime to criticize the government-needed to silence opposition and limit political influence of immigrants
Repealled in 1802
- turning things into drama ie) horse race
- doesn't really deal with the political side
Four stories about political candidates
- 1. Bandwagon-support, momentum--best coverage
- 2. Losing ground-"Have lost their lead"--worst coverage
- 3. Front runner-easily out ahead--so so coverage, not exciting
- 4. Likely loser-way behind--no coverage unless something happens
voting for people from different parties for different positions in an election
- must be registered BEFORE casting your vote
- prove residency
- must register first-takes effort
- purge voting rights of dead and moved
- an official government produced ballot that lists all offices and ll the candidates and parties who have qualified to be on the ballot
- AKA Secret ballot
districts drawn to where the majority of the district residents are members of minority groups in order to increase the probability of a minority being elected
redrawing districts in order to get more seats
the act of either losing or gaining seats in Congress due to population and districting
you vote for ONE party--% total votes=% total seats
- 50% + one vote
- 3rd party candidates don't have much of a chance
- "first past the post"
- most votes wins
referring to those who wholly support their party's policies and are perhaps even reluctant to acknowledge correctness on the part of their political opponents in almost any situation
- 1. Rational choice answer-economic view; voting is expensive and time consuming
- 2. Withdrawal answer-psychological view-people of low income/education tend to think they don't matter
- 3. Comparativist (institutional) answer-maybe it's because of our electoral system-lack of choices
- -Motor votor-increased registered voters but not turnout
- -Having voting on the weekends increases turnout
what the ballot looks like, split ticket
roughly the same population per district-only one person is elected per district
- makes a distinction between high profile lobbying groups vs ordinary citizens
- William Greider-focuses on income bias; tend to have an upper/middle class bias-cuts most of America out of the political process
- possible solution-subsidizes groups for the poor
- refers to the IRON TRIANGLE!
- too many groups
- Jonathan Rauch-says everyone belongs to a group "hyperpluralism"
critical realigning elections
- occur about every 40 years
- 1. 1860-Civil War-Lincoln-birth of the Republican party at the national level
- 2. 1932-New Deal-Roosevelt-Democrats became the dominant national party
- 3. 1828-Jackson (D) vs Adams (R)-inflicts spoils system...leads to #1
- 4. 1896-McKinley (R) vs Bryan (D)-change in party funding
- 5. 1980-Reagan (R) vs Carter (D)-led to Republicans dominating
mechanisms of critical realigning elections
- -new issue comes up that cross-cuts party lines
- -results in one party dominating for some time
- used to get people to join
- ie) coffee mug, water bottle
- party in the electorate (party identification)-declining
- party organization-mostly state and local
- party in the government
- documents expressing the principles, beliefs and policy positions of the party, as endorsed by delagates at the national party convention
- -what the party stands for-
given to members only
elections in which voters choose the candidate that will represent their party in the general election
anyone NOT supporting either of the two main parties
- receives the benefits without ever participating
- smaller groups can better manage free-riders
- the meeting of electors who cast votes to elect the president
- in most states, the electors are required to vote for the winner of the popular vote in that state
giving government jobs based on partisanship rather than qualification
the learning process in which individuals absorb information and selectively add it to their knowledge and understanding of politics and government
a society in which all groups are well-represented and no single interest controls government decisions
a benefit everyone enjoys, regardless of whether or not they contributed
the basic values, beliefs, attitudes, predispositions, and expectations of citizens toward the political system of their society and toward themselves as participants in it
- organizations that seek to influence government decisions
- relates to Fed 10-factions
- -Madison believes factions will balance out
political action committees (PACs)
a group that collects money from individuals and makes donations to politcal parties and candidates
seeding the electorate
Jonathon Rauch-everyone belongs to a group
Theory of Collective Action
a problem that arises when individuals' incentives lead them to avoid taking actions that are best for the group as a whole, and that they themselves would like to see accomplished
- importance of liberty and equality
- The Liberal Tradition in America by Louis Hartz
- "We all speak one language-the language of Locke"
Did the candidate do what he said he would?
- Morris Fiorina
- look to the future-vision
New Deal Coalition
- 1. Labor union members
- 2. Urban ethnics
- 3. Southerners
- 4. Middle class liberals
- 5. Northern blacks
3 and 5 did NOT get along
- starts to break up in the 1960s-race was a top issue
- 1948-Thurmond; 1968-George Wallace prosegregation; 1964-Goldwater; 1972-Nixon-->massive Southern realignment
party bell curve
Anthony Downs-the bulk of the voters are moderate
- An official, usually periodic enumeration of a population, often including the collection of related demographic information
- used to define districts and decide representation
a system of government in which a presidential administration awards jobs to party loyalists
advocated measures to destroy political machines and instead have direct participation by voters in nomination of candidates and the establishment of public policy
- office block-candidates grouped by office
- party column-one party on each side
- Austrailian AKA secret
What is the best way to measure public opinion?
polling a random sample
What restrictions are plaed on print and broadcast media?
- Print-no federal regulation
- Broadcast-regulated by the FCC-equal time rules and right of rebuttal
- -government cannot practice prior restraint
- -must not publish with actual malice or reckless intent
How has the American media changed over the years?
- Early media-local, heavily biased
- press started to become more middle-grounded
How have media and public opinion chanfed the political process?
- They dramatize issues.
- Influence how you view issues
Describe the importance of elections in American politics.
It allows the public to be represented how they want to be. The publuc elects who rules them.
How do elections, parties, and polling fit together?
Political parties elect candidates who try to win elections. Polls are conducted to gather public opinion so the candidate knows what issues to address and how to address them.
What affects voter turnout? Has turnout changed since the founding?
Voter turnout is affected by how convinient it is and if the voter feels like his/her opinion matters. Since the founding, turnout has increased due to laws prohibitting poll taxes and literacy tests; however, the US is still ranked low among other democracies.
What is the purpose of political parties?
- to win elections
- recruit politicians
- provide leadership
Why does the American party system look different from our European counterparts?
we never went through feudalism and we have no tradition of socialism
Why are certain interest groups more likely to organize than others?
- parties lose identification-more become independents
- should be diverse but the outcome should be moderated
What important activities do interest groups undertake?
- spending money in order to gain support
- voter mobilization efforts
- voter education