PS1010 Columbia Southern Polling on Politics American Government Questions


Columbia Southern University

Question Description


What is polling, and what impact can polling have on politics?

Your response should be at least 200 words in length.

Path: pWords:0

30 points


Can politicians use the media to shape opinion? How? Is it effective?

Your response should be at least 200 words in length.

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30 points


Would you ever run for political office? If not, why not? If yes, which office would you seek, and why?

Your response should be at least 75 words in length.

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20 points


Do you believe voting should be mandatory? Why or why not?

Your response should be at least 75 words in length.

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UNIT IV STUDY GUIDE American Political Culture: Media, Public Opinion, and Political Participation Course Learning Outcomes for Unit IV Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to: 1. Summarize the origins of American political thought. 1.1 Discuss how culture influences participation in politics and voting practices. 7. Identify the impact of media on public opinion and politics. 7.1 Discuss ways in which the media influences the public. 7.2 Explain polling and its impact on politics. Course/Unit Learning Outcomes 1.1 Learning Activity Unit IV Lesson Required Reading: Unit IV Assessment Unit IV Lesson Required Reading: 7.1 Required Video: Unit IV Assessment 7.2 Unit IV Lesson Required Reading: Required Video: Unit IV Assessment Voting as Political Participation The Role of the Media in Politics The Media and Political Campaigns Media Bias Media, Presidents, and Public Opinion Public Opinion Media, Presidents, and Public Opinion Reading Assignment In order to access the American Government Readings listed below, please click here. This document contains an interactive table of contents that will help you navigate to your assigned readings. American Government Readings: The Role of the Media in Politics, pp. 5-16 American Government Readings: The Media and Political Campaigns, pp. 17-24 American Government Readings: Media Bias, pp. 25-28 American Government Readings: Public Opinion, pp. 29-36 American Government Readings: Voting as Political Participation, pp. 37-44 In addition to the required readings above, you are required to view the following videos. Bill Moyers (Producer). (1989). Consumer opinion: A valuable commodity (Segment 2 of 14) [Video File]. Retrieved from ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=4933&loid=45262 PS 1010, American Government 1 San Mateo County Community College District (Producer). (2001). Media, presidents, and public opinion UNIT x STUDY GUIDE (Segment 6 of 6) [Video file]. Retrieved from Title ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=30811&loid=1047 Unit Lesson Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much. —Lincoln, Speech at a Republican banquet, Chicago, IL, Dec. 10, 1856 Does what we think really matter to the people in power? Should politics or the act of governing be led by opinion polls or directed by the media? Does your vote really matter? Such questions are at the heart of American politics. In large part, our opinions about most things, including politics, are formed when we are children. Our families have the first and greatest impact on us, and their beliefs often evolve into our own. The majority of adult Americans are Republican, Democrat, or Independent simply because that is the party to which their parents belong. The party that you identify with says a lot about you. We tend to gravitate toward a party and people with whom we have a common cause. Often, voters take their political views from those of their family or region. For many people, party and issue preference is purely a result of their surroundings, with several generations voting as fervent Republicans or Democrats or pro-life or pro-choice supporters. While we might not agree with every ideal of our chosen party, we typically select and remain loyal to the party that most closely corresponds with our views, only switching as a result of a dramatic turn of events. Although our parents have a large impact on our political thinking, our environment and culture play a significant role. Even schools affect children’s thoughts and ideas. While most teachers attempt to remain politically neutral when teaching their students, their thoughts and predispositions can emerge. During election time, you will often hear even young children talking about those running for president and how one candidate is better than the other. Though a teacher’s job is to teach the subject matter, personal views are inevitably shared; however, this should also be considered part of the process and an observation of our freedoms and the ability to choose a candidate of our liking through the democratic process. Religious organizations also greatly influence political thinking, particularly when it comes to marriage, family, and health. We see this influence in such things as the forming of the Christian Coalition and the influence of Evangelical Christians on party politics. Along with religion, we see evidence of how our peers, mass media, authority figures, and major events play on our political leanings. The media, in particular, plays a huge role in shaping opinions, especially through the evolution from print to television, and mostly recently, to social media. In fact, most people would be surprised at the methods employed by some Ronald and Nancy Reagon at the members of the media to implant ideas and steer the public in one Republican National Convention in 1980 direction or another. The proliferation of social media has created an (Happyme22, 2008) atmosphere conducive to the perpetuation of rumor and acceptance as fact of any information found online. You need to be able to recognize that advertising and news agencies, as well as politicians, can skillfully phrase comments to focus on one issue, avoid another, and alter an overall meaning to suit their needs. When parties put together their platforms or politicians want to know what the public thinks about an issue, they turn to surveys or opinion polls. Pollsters do not query every single person; rather, they rely on probability by randomly selecting a sample of individuals from the population to ask a series of questions in order to gain public opinion. From this survey, a polling organization such as Gallup might present its findings as to what the population as a whole is thinking. Some limitations with polling include the refusal of those selected to answer or those selected not answering truthfully. Others limitations arise related to the survey design, including how questions are presented or the order in which they are presented. PS 1010, American Government 2 Because of television and the Internet, voters are bombarded by political ad campaigns, especially during a hotly contested House, Senate, gubernatorial, or presidential election. Texas and Florida are infamous for mudslinging ads that run during campaign season. Millions of dollars are spent getting politicians elected to office, and most of what is said in these spots is either not true or only half-true. In addition, politicians and their supporters may call potential voters on the phone with canned messages at all hours, go door to door, or hold rallies and pancake breakfasts, all in the attempt to get your vote. UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 United States presidential campaign Many voters are turned off by politics and refuse to get involved or (Krassotkin & Skidmore, 2016) even vote because of all of the tactics used. Regardless of how our information is gathered, the battleground is ultimately the polls though, of course, even exit and opinion polls can be slanted to suit one’s purpose. On election day, the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, voters are able to exercise their right and cast their votes for the candidates of their choice. Even though everyone has an opinion about politics, only about half of eligible voters act on their opinions. There are many reasons why citizens do not vote. First, in order to vote, citizens must register, and registration laws differ from state to state. Many citizens simply fail to register or do not realize registration cannot be done at the polls. Second, some believe voting is pointless and that it will not change the status quo. Others say they do not like the candidates. Third, in some states, convicted felons may not vote. A fourth reason for poor voter turnout in America is voter exhaustion. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the United States holds more elections than any other nation (Independence Hall Association, n.d.). In fact, we have elections for president every four years, U.S. House elections every two years, and local elections in odd- and even-numbered years depending on local laws. It is also inconvenient that election days are held on a Tuesday when most voters work. Voting on Tuesdays is a tradition established in 1845 and was based on a farmer’s schedule of attending church on Sunday, travelling on Monday, voting Tuesday, and returning home to be able to go to market Wednesday (Andrews, 2013). Though America is a country where citizens have died for the right to vote, we typically see a voter turnout of only slightly greater than 50%, as evidenced during the 2012 presidential election when the turnout was just 53.6% (Pew Research Center, 2016). By most standards, a turnout of about half of eligible voters is embarrassingly low and plants the United States 31st among the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Pew Research Center, 2016). That ranking is revealed to be a bit misleading, however, when we factor in the nations that have mandatory voting. The Pew Research Center (2016) noted that U.S History six of the countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have compulsory voting. Indeed, 25 countries around the world have laws requiring citizens to vote (DeSilver, 2016). For example, in Australia, voters are fined if they do not cast a ballot, and, if they do not pay their fine, they can lose their driver’s licenses (Weller, 2016). The idea of compulsory voting even had a fan in a former president, Barack Obama, who endorsed the idea during his presidency. In a nation built on freedom, do you think requiring citizens to vote could be successful? The United States is considered a two-party system with the Republican and Democratic parties comprising the vast majority of voters; however, out of 200 million registered voters, there are approximately 28 million registered Independent voters (Goldmacher, 2016). Independent third parties are usually single-issue parties and infrequently see their candidates elected to office. Over the years, parties have become weaker, and candidates have become stronger. With the majority of states going to primary elections to decide who is going to run for each state, the parties themselves have taken a supporting role in most elections. This trend was especially prevalent during the 2016 presidential election in which even members of the Republican Party voiced displeasure with Donald Trump and questioned the process. In this fast-paced, multimedia-heavy, and nonfat latte world, we, as voters, are inundated with information all of the time. People are constantly sending us surveys, even on our smartphones, trying to get a feel for what the population as a whole might be thinking. In the end, it is up to us as citizens and voters to take the time to find the facts and not let others form our opinions for us. It is also our responsibility to vote and hold our PS 1010, American Government 3 elected officials from all political affiliations accountable, whether we are Republican, Independent, UNIT x Democrat, STUDY GUIDE or the-grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side party members. Title References Andrews, E. (2013, October). Election 101: Why do we vote on a Tuesday in November? Retrieved from DeSilver, D. (2016). U.S. voter turnout trails most developed countries. Retrieved from: Goldmacher, S. (2016, October). America hits new landmark: 200 million registered voters. Retrieved from Happyme22. (2008). Reagans at the 1980 Republican National Convention (Image). Retrieved from Independence Hall Association. (n.d.). 5b. Campaigns and elections. Retrieved from Krassotkin & Skidmore, G. (2016, March). Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during United States presidential election 2016 [Image]. Retrieved from residential_election_2016.jpg Weller, C. (2016). Half of Americans probably won’t vote—but requiring them to would change that. Retrieved from PS 1010, American Government 4 ...
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