AP Gov Unit 3 Elections and the Media

What are some basic aspects of the differences between the senate and the house of representatives?
1.-100 total senators
-435 total representatives
2. -Each state gets 2 senators regardless of population
-Each state is apportioned a certain share of the 435 total represntatives base on its pop.
3. -Each senator is elected by the state at large that is by all the voters in the state
-Each state is then re apportioned a certain number of reps in accordance with the results of the census
(some states gain/lose)
-Each rep is elected only by the voters in his particular district
4. -each senator serves the state as a whole
-each representative serves the citizens of his disrict
What is the census?
determines the states populations (have they grown or shrunk)
what is the apportionment?
how many reps each state gets based on its population
what is the re-apportionment?
how many reps each state gets due to the census’ count of population
Who are your senator and reps?
Carl Levin- Senior Senator Debbie Stabenow- Junior senator
Ellen Lipton- Representative
Who is up for election every 2 years?
1/3 of the senate
all 435 reps in the house of reps
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What voting trends have we seen in America?
-in mid term elections the president party loses seats in congress
-the % of americans have been declining
-most voters vote straight ticket (voting all d/r)
-split ticket voting is on the rise (different political parties, same ballot)
What institution of the US government was created to be the most responsive to public opinion?
What checks did the framers of the constitution place on public opinion?
-representative government
-seperations of powers
-bill of rights
-independent judiciary
What is the “public opinion”?
How people think about particular things
what does good public opinion polling entail?
-posting comprehensive questions (asking people about things they have some basis of forming an opion about)
-Wording questions fairly (not using “loaded” or “emotional” words indicating what the right answers)
what is stratified or multistage sampling? (random sampling??)
Any given voter or adult has an equal chance of being interviewed
What is sampling error?
The difference between two surveys or samples
what are exit polls and when might they be unreliable?
interviews with randomly selected voters conducted at polling places on election day in a representative sample of voting districts. It is still hard to predict the winner in a close election and pollsters are finding its harder than ever before to answer their calls this harms a polls reliability.
What is the point of the graphics in the guided reading?
The way you word the question can change the polls answers/results.
Know the details of the 8 stages of our national election
1. The announcement
2. Campaigning within the primaries
3. Primaries (actually, primaries and caucuses)
4. National Party Conventions
5. Campaigning for the general election
6. The general election (“general” meaning the whole national votes on the same day, unlike during primaries)
7. the electoral vote
8. the inauguration
What are primary elections?
election held within a party to nominate candidates for the general election or choose DELEGATES to the presidential nom convention
What are caucuses?
all day affairs involving voters taking turns giving speeches to try to convince their preffered candidate until the end of the day.
Which is more common primary or caucuses?
Primary elections
What kind of individuals typically attend primary and caucuses (especially caucuses)
only political activists tend to take the time to attend
What is the role of delegates in our primary elections?
they are pledged to vote for candidates and are sent to the national convention to vote. by selecting the delegates who are pledged to vote for a specific candidate, the voters largely decide which candidate will be the parties’ nominee
What day does the constitution specify for our national elections?
The first tuesday after the first monday in november every four years according to the constitution… actually every 2 years with mid terms….
what is the electoral college and what role does it play in the general election?
if a candidate wins a majority of the popular vote (the vote of the public) in a state, then all of the electors in that stae who are designated to vote for that candidate will get to go and vote for him. the losing candidates electors do not get to vote.
what number of electors is needed to win the presidency?
whichever candidate is able to win 270 of the possible 538 electors votes, (electoral votes) will become president)
what are open and closed primaries and why have a closed primary?
open- any voter in the district may attend
closed- only voters who have registered as a member of a particular party may attend that partys primary/caucus
-closed to prevent “strategic voting” by the opposition- voting for a candidate who you think will be easy for your candidate to defeat.
what are the different kinds of delegates, and how is delegate allocation done for each state?
-pledged- delegates chosen by the voters in the primaries
-unpledged- party insiders (members of congress,governors, party leaders, etc.) who automatically get to cast a vote at the convention. The math to determine the number of delegates each state recieves is COMPLICATED but it is largely based on SATE POPULATION.
democrats call theirs super democrats
What is the difference between “winner take all” and “proportional allocation” methods of awarding elections and what effect does it have on the length of the entire primary contest?
proportionally- if you win 50% of the vote you got 50% of the pledged delegates
winner take all- whoever won the most votes got 100% of that states pledged delegates
ex. mccain won “winner take all” states he had so many delegates so quick but obama/clinton kept winning 50% so theirs took much longer
who tends to vote in primary elections and what effect does this have on the way that nominees campaign in the primaries and the poilitcal ideology if those in our government as opposed to the political ideology of the american people in general?
unike later in the general election only activists at the extreme right or left tend to vote in primaries/caucesus. this explains why our political leaders are so much further to the left or the right then most of the americans that they reresent who are to the center. the activists who pick the nominees/caucuses ensure that the only choice the voters will have in the general election is between someone at the far right or someone to the far left. to win the primaries/caucuses, candidates must be more liberal or conservative themselves.
what is super tuesday?
A tuesday in februrary or march w/more primary elections that any other day
-it is the closest thing we have to a national primary day
what is front loading?
moving your states primary/caucus to an early date so that you have more influence on the outcome
Iowa/New Hampshire
get the first caucus and always get the first primary
explain the electoral college system and the effect it has on how candidates campaign.
the group of individuals called electors who cas the actual votes for the president called electoral votes, of the general election. presidential candidates focus their campaigns on competitive “Swing states” that could vote either way. states with many electoral votes
explain how the following aspects of the US election system tend to result in a 2-party system rather than a multi party system: plurality elections, single-member winner take all districts.
plurality elections- whoever wins the most votes, not a majority of the votes (50%+1) wins that state or district or that state’s electoral votes
single member winner take all- there is only one winner. second place gets nothing
RESULTS: third party candidates must beat both major parties candidates at the same time to win which is hard.. winning a significant percentage of the vote gets everyone except the one winner nothing, voters know this so the dont “waste” their vote on long shot third party candidates
explain the following alternative election methods and how they would increase the likelihood of a multi party system: Run off elections, proportional representation.
A run off election- if no one wins a majority of the votes another election is held between only the top two vote getters … a third party candidate would not have to beat both major parties at the same time he could come in second in the first election and first in the second election-still difficult but not all but impossible
proportional representation- if a political party gets 20%of the national vote they get 20% of the seats in the legislature …3rd prty voters would not geel taht they are wasting their vote. even if they add up to only 10% of the ovrall national vote they still get 10% of the seats in the legislature
both of these systems would decrease the likelihood of a two party system
know and explain the following election options that some states have and others do not: ballot initiatives, referendums,recall elections, run off elections.
some states do the following some do not
a. ballot initiative- citizens can petition to have “propositions” placed on the ballot to be voted on. citizens -law making
b. referendum- passed by their state legsilature ex. Emergency Manager law
c. recall- before his term has expired ex. arnold schwarzenegger defeated gray davis in a california recall election before davids term was up.
how does the media tend to cover elections, and what influence does it have on what votes think is important?
largely horse race coverage- tv print media talk mostly about who is winning or losing up or down in the polls rather than about the candidates views. setting the agenda is the most important function of media. greatly influences what we think .
understand how a candidate can win more votes but still not become president
if there is more popular vote for the republican but the democrats one the states with more electoral college votes than the democrate would beat the republican
what is sampling error?
when polls have different results do to the way they were written and who answered them
what are the main arguments for changing the electoral college.
1.the electoral college is undemocratic
2. the reason for creating the elecotral college no longer apply
3. letting congress decide in the event no candidate gets 270 votes is unfair
4. electors do not have to cast their votes for the candidate receiving the most popular votes
arguments against changing the electoral college?
1.why tamper with a system that works
2. a popular election system would cause new problems
3. a popular election system would weaken two party system
4. the problem of uncontrollabe electors is a minor one
majoritarian politics
when our leaders do what the majority wants done since the majority of the american people elected them.
That is the “delegate role” of leadership. elected officials seem to behave this way when most people are watching that is when deciding issues that have captures the american peoples attentions
elite politics
when our elected leaders do what a small but influencial group of americans called elites wants done
elite theory
1. marx’s view – the political struggles are really struggles between capitalists and poor workers
2. the power elite view- c.wright mills view that a few top leaders from three different groups work together to for a coalition that dominates the government
3. the bureaucratic view- the view that elites are long time members of the federal bureaucracy who implement policy
4. the pluralists view- the american people can be thought of as a huge collection of smaller groups