4. 5. Political Culture & Public Opinion

National Anthem
 Although
America is very diverse, it is
united under a common political culture.
political culture is a common set of
beliefs and attitudes about government
and politics.
am very patriotic
 I am proud to be
 We should be willing
to fight for our
country whether it is
right or wrong
Majority rule/minority rights
• Minority rights must be guaranteed
• Equality of every person before the law
Private property
• Ownership of property is protected by law
Individual freedoms
• Guarantees civil liberties
• Allows for all interests to best benefit society
Limited government
• Government powers are restricted to the powers given to
them by the people
 Process
by which citizens acquire a sense
of political identity.
 Begins early in childhood and continues
throughout a person’s life
 Allows citizens to become aware of
politics, learn political facts, and form
political opinions.
 Family (#1)
• Strongest when both parents identify w/same party
 Schools
• Teach patriotism, governmental functions, &
encourage participation
 Group Affiliation
• Interest groups, labor unions, etc.
 Demographics
• Occupation, race, gender, age, religion, region of
 Mass Media
 Events
Definition: citizen’s capacity to understand and influence political
Political efficacy has two parts
Internal efficacy
Confidence in one’s ability to understand and
influence events
Currently, about the same as in 1950s
External efficacy
Belief that system will respond to citizens
Not shaped by particular events
Declined steadily since the 1960s
Americans seem to believe that government is
becoming too big to respond to individual
 Definition: A
collection of shared attitudes of
many different people in matters relating to
politics, public issues, and the making of
public policy.
 Shaped by people’s political culture and
political socialization.
• Can be analyzed according to:
 Distribution (physical shape of responses when graphed)
 Intensity (how strong the opinions are held)
 Stability (how much the opinion changes over time)
Modern polling began in the 1930’s when
George Gallup helped develop the use of a
scientific polling process:
• Sampling
 those chosen to participate in a poll must be representative of
the general population
• Preparing valid questions
 Directions should be clear & questions should be phrased not
to lead participants to answer a certain way
• Controlling how the poll is taken
 The respondent should have some knowledge of the issues
addressed in the poll
• Analyzing and reporting results
 Be sure not to report non-accurate information
 An
ideology is a consistent set of beliefs.
 A political ideology is a set of beliefs
about public politics and public policy
that creates the structure for looking at
government and public policy.
 Political ideologies can change over
 Differences in ideology generally occur
in the arena of political, economic, and
social issues.
 Radical Liberal Moderate Conservative Reactionary *Analyze
chart on page 209 to summarize
each “level” of the political spectrum*
• Favors rapid, fundamental change in existing social, economic, or political
order; may be willing to resort to extreme means
• Supports active government in promoting individual welfare and supporting
civil rights, and accepts political & social change w/in the existing political
• Falls between liberal & conservative & which may include some of both; usually
thought of as tolerant of others’ political opinions & not likely to hold extreme
views on issues
• Promotes a limited governmental role in helping individuals economically,
supports traditional values and lifestyles, favors a more active role for
government in promoting national security, and approaches change cautiously
• Advocates a return to a previous state of affairs, often a social order or
government that existed earlier in history
 Create
your own “Public Opinion Poll”
• Must follow George Gallup’s scientific polling
• Must choose at least 20 people to poll
• Once you have the results, create a graph
illustrating the results