Public Opinion, Polling, Media Bias, and The Electoral College

public opinion
the ideas and attitudes that people hold about an issue or a person
the 2 roles of public opinion
helps shape the decisions that officials make and shapes how successful a president is in putting his plans into action
complications of public opinion
diverse races, religions, number of people, regional differences, etc
Sources of Public Opinion
Personal Background and Mass Media
personal background
opinions based on experiences, position in life, personal beliefs (age,gender,race,religion,education,etc.)
mass media
refers to many different types of communication, text messages, television, etc
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interest groups
groups of individuals with a specific view on an issue or topic, work to convince other people to adopt their POV
public opinion polls
a survey in which individuals are asked to answer questions about a particular issue or person
Different Types of Polls
Academic Polls, Straw Polls, Campaign Polls, etc.
specialist who works for the president and measures how popular the president is, what the public’s opinion is on specific issues or programs the president is considering
Sample groups
Individuals selected to participate in a poll
Different ways of selecting sample groups
Random and Questions
Talk to people from all over the nation
must be worded carefully because if not they can lead to confusion
push polls
polls that are worded to shape a person’s response
Media Influence
Mass Media plays a key role in informing people about issues
2 types of mass media
print and electronic media
Most america media outlets…
are private businesses run for profit
Publish info based on…
what attracts viewers,etc
public agenda
the problems that receive the most time, effort, and money from government officials
Media can influence…
Which problems official regard as important
watchdog role
the media keeps a close eye on government activities
media and national security
public needs to stay informed but government must keep some secrets; can also use media to shape opinions on government actions
The Electoral College
Process of choosing an elector to vote for the president instead of you choosing the next president through your own vote is part of this system
Arguments for The Electoral College
-contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president
-enhances status of minority interests
-contributes to political stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system
-maintains a federal system of government and representation
Arguments against The Electoral College
-possibility of electing a minority (someone not receiving the majority votes) president
-the risk of so-called “faithless” electors
-the possible role of the Electoral College in depressing voter turnout
-failure to accurately reflect national popular will