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- The degree to which an issue is important to a particular individual or group.
- Ex. Social Security is highly salient with senior citizens, but not with younger citizens.
- How strongly people feel about a particular issue.
- Ex. gun control is not an intense issue among most Americans, but the NRA's opposition is intense, making it one of the nation's most powerful lobbying organizations.
- How quickly or slowly opinion of an issue changes.
- Ex. Free market economy and democracy are stable.
- Approval of the H.W. Bush administration was unstable.
- Conducted using random samples of the population to project the public opinion of America.
- Contains sampling error to provide margins of accuracy.
- Effective polls use neutral and close-ended questions.
- Harris and Gallup are the best-known polls.
Influences of Public Opinion (Political Socialization)
- Religious Institutions
- Mass Media
- Higher Education
- Real-life experiences
- Stresses individual responsibility.
- Oppose governmental interference in th private sector.
- Support government action on social issues.
- Believe government should be used to remedy the social and economic injustices of the marketplaace.
- Support government efforst to redress past social injustice.
- Support separation of government and state.
- Favor individual social freedom.
Factors in Ideological and Political Behavior
- Income level
- News broadcasts on television, radio, and the Internet
- News magazines, such as Time and Newsweek.
- Magazine broadcast programs, such as 60 Minutes and 20/20.Newsmaker interview programs, such as Meet the Press and Larry King Live.
- Political Talk Radio
- Websites, blogs, and online forums, such as Huffington Post or Politico