Unit 2 Study Guide unit_2_study_guide

Public Opinion and Political Socialization
Chapter 6 Key Terms and Concepts
opinion leader
divisive opinion
opinion poll
gender gap
peer group
generational effect
political socialization
political trust
public opinion
sampling error
socioeconomic status
Chapter 6 Key Ideas and Questions
1. Define what we mean by public opinion and explain its uses by policy-makers and interest groups.
2. Describe consensus opinion and divisive opinion.
3. Explain how public opinion is formed in the United States, including political socialization by families,
education, peers, the media, opinion leaders, and the influence of events.
4. Explain the influence of education and occupation on voting behavior.
5. Explain the influence of socioeconomic status.
6. Explain the influence of religion, race and ethnicity, and geographical region.
7. Define and explain the gender gap.
8. Describe the flaws of early opinion polls.
9. Describe current sampling techniques, including random sampling and quota sampling.
10. Explain problems associated with telephone and Internet polls.
11. Describe the trends in public opinion regarding trust in government and confidence in institutions.
12. Describe some of the limits to the value of polls in making policy decisions.
13. What demographic changes have occurred in the U.S. and what are their political and public policy
14. What is political socialization? What is the difference between formal and informal learning? Which do
you think is most important and why? Give examples to support your answer.
15. Explain how public opinion is measured. What scientific techniques are used to measure public
opinion? What are the arguments against public opinion polling?
16. What are some of the ways in which people participate in politics? Compare conventional and
unconventional participation. How do they affect policy in different ways?
17. Why is participation in America unequal? What are the political and policy implications of unequal
Interest Groups
Chapter 7 Key Terms and Concepts
climate control
material incentive
direct technique
public interest
indirect technique
purposive incentive
interest group
service sector
social movement
solidary incentive
Citizens United v. FEC
Chapter 7 Key Ideas
1. Define interest groups and describe their functions.
2. Give three reasons why people participate in interest groups.
3. Identify the major categories of interest groups and name some representatives in the business,
agricultural, and labor sectors.
4. Describe professional interest groups, public interest pressure groups, single-interest groups,
environmental groups, and how foreign governments act as interest groups.
5. Specify some of the factors that make an interest group powerful.
6. Identify the direct tactics used by interest groups, including lobbying, rating systems, building alliances,
and campaign assistance.
7. Identify the indirect tactics used by interest groups, including public pressure and using constituents as
8. Describe benefits and drawbacks of tactics such as demonstrations and boycotts.
9. Describe regulations on lobbyists in place today
10. What are interest groups? How do groups differ from political parties?
11. Why are small groups generally more effective than large groups?
12. How do intensity and financial resources affect interest group success? What are single-issue groups
and how effective have they been in American politics?
13. What are the principal strategies that groups use to affect policymaking? Which strategy seems to be
the most effective, and why? Are certain strategies better suited for different types of interest groups?
14. What impact do political action committees have on interest group behavior? Evaluate the role of
political action committees.
15. What are the different types of interest groups? What are their primary goals, what strategies do they
use, and how successful have they been?
16. How do interest groups affect democracy and the scope of government in the United States?
Political Parties
Chapter 8 Key Terms and Concepts
national convention
divided government
Electoral College
political party
era of personal politics
splinter party
swing voters
national committee
third party
two-party system
unit rule
party platform
Chapter 8 Key Ideas
1. Distinguish between a political party, an interest group, and a faction.
2. Identify the functions of a political party.
3. Identify the two major-party face-offs that developed in the years before the Civil War crisis.
4. Distinguish between the various parties or tendencies that have adopted the name Republican.
5. Explain the transformation of the Democratic Party from a party of limited government, states’ rights,
and racism to a party of strong government, national authority, and support for civil rights.
6. Describe the core constituents and economic beliefs of the Republican and Democratic parties.
7. Explain how economic politics and cultural politics often pull in different directions.
8. Describe the three faces of a political party, including the party organization, the party in electorate,
and the party-in-government.
9. Explain how the winner-take-all election system works against third parties.
10. Distinguish between ideological third parties and splinter parties.
11. Explain what realignment is and identify the four most important realignments in American history.
12. Briefly describe the rise of independent voters and split ticket voting.
13. Define the concept of demographically based political tipping.
14. What is the meaning of a political party? What functions do parties in America perform?
15. How has party identification changed over the years and what affect has it had on elections?
16. Describe the basic organization of American political parties. How do party politics at the local, state,
and national levels differ? Which level is most important and why?
17. How did the American two-party system evolve? How were coalitions important to this evolution?
Include in your answer a discussion of party eras and critical elections.
18. What are the political and policy consequences of having a two-party system? How have third parties
made a difference?
19. In what ways have American political parties declined? What are the principal rivals of the political
parties? Speculate on the future of political parties in America.