Political Beliefs and Behaviors

Political Beliefs
and Behaviors
Political Culture
 Distinctive
and patterned way of thinking
about how political and economic life
ought to be carried out.
 Americans
believe in liberty, democracy,
equality and civic duty.
 Mistrust of Government – mostly of leaders
rather than the system.
 Political efficacy – a citizen’s capacity to
understand and influence political events.
Sources of American Political
 Participation
in politics in permitted by the
 Absence of an established national
 Absence of class consciousness.
Political Ideology
coherent and consistent set of beliefs
about who ought to rule, what principles
rulers ought to obey and what policies
rulers ought to pursue.
 Most citizens display little “ideology”, i.e.
liberal, conservative, radical; except for
 Political elites display more ideological
Political Tolerance
 Concrete
v. abstract
 Unpopular groups are able to survive
because people rarely act on beliefs and
the court system is “sufficiently insulated”
from public opinion.
Public Opinion
 The
public’s attitudes toward a given
government policy vary over time.
 Public opinion places boundaries on
allowable types of public policy.
 Citizens are willing to register opinions on
matters outside their expertise.
 Governments tend to react to public
Polling Public Opinion
 Exit
 Sampling
 Random Samples
 Distribution
 Sampling Errors
 Accuracy and Questioning
 Consensus v. Polarization
The Origins of Political
 Role
of the family
 Schooling & information
 Ideology
 Job (Income)
 Race & ethnicity
 Religious tradition
 Gender
 Region
Political Participation
Conventional Participation
1. Supportive Behaviors
2. Influencing Behaviors
 low-initiative
 high-initiative
Unconventional Participation – behavior that
threatens or defies
Group Politics v. Movement Politics
Techniques of movements include marches,
rallies, sit-ins, petitions, use of spokespersons,
non-violent disruptions
The Rise of the American
 1789
– white, male property owners
 1850 – nearly all white adult males
 1870 – 15th amendment, all men over 21
 1920 – 19th amendment, all men and
women over 21
 1971 – all men and women over 18
Group Factors inn Voting
 Party
 Class,
Occupation, Income (Standard
Socioeconomic Model)
 Education
 Religion
 Gender
 Race/Ethnicity
 Age
Impact of Progressivism
 Direct
 Recall
 Referendum
 Initiative
Voter Turnout, a final
Americans vote less, but participate more
than people in other countries in other forms
of political behavior.
Younger voters are the least likely to vote.
Restrictive laws and the burden of individual
registration contribute to low voter turnout.
Americans may be happy with the “system”
and less likely to feel the need to vote.
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