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American Government Test 2
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Political Studies
10/23/2011

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Term
Ideology
Definition
The basic lens through which someone observes and evaluates government , the collection of orrientations a person uses to impose order on a complicated political world.
Term
Libertarianism
Definition
Gives individualism a central place in political life and permits only minimal use of government power
Term
Classical (Lockean) liberalism
Definition
Emerged in Europe, empowered the individual. Authority does not come from God, but from a "social contract" conferring privileges and duties on everyone.
Term
Political Culture
Definition
A nation's fundamental beliefs about politics and government
Term
Conservatism
Definition
Endorses less government regulation of economic matters, tend to call for reduced taxes and other measures that may allow markets to operate with less government interference, favor public policies that will shape the nation's culture in a moral direction rather than an amoral one. See foreign and defense policy as a means for promoting the American way of life, endorse a strong military
Term
Liberalism
Definition
Supports an active government in the economic sphere, endorse using political institutions to address wide-spread social inequalities, such as those associated with race or gender, but argue that the government should refrain from interfering with citizens' moral choices about marriage, religion, and values. Prefer international cooperation to solve world problems and see foreign policy as a way of promoting freedom and equality worldwide
Term
Populist
Definition
Compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. Political ideas and activities that are intended to represent ordinary people's needs and wishes
Term
Political Socialization
Definition
A concept concerning the “study of the developmental processes by which children and adolescents acquire political cognition, attitudes and behaviors.
Term
Socializing Agents
Definition
Family,
Schools,
Mass Media,
Religion,
Self-interest
Term
Primacy Principle
Definition
Claims that those political orientations that are learned early persist and shape later political learning.
Term
Structuring Principle
Definition
Holds that orientations acquired during childhood structure the later learning of specific issue beliefs.
Term
Public Opinion
Definition
The aggregation of people's views about issues, situations, and public figures. Political Scientist V.O. Key—"those opinions held by private persons which governments find it prudent to heed."
Term
Random Sample
Definition
A few thousand people's opinions meant to mirror the opinions of the 230 million adults in the country. Sample chosen by a computer choosing telephone digits for poll.
Term
Selection Bias
Definition
People left out of random telephone polls. Ex., citizens of Hawaii and Alaska, small portion of U.S. population without telephones, the half of the original sample that don't answer their phones—polls underrepresent men, young people, whites, and the wealthy.
Term
Measurement error
Definition
Opinions measured improperly because of the difficulty of mirroring public opinion with surveys. Problems: opinions are not physical facts that can be measured objectively, answers may depend on the options provided for a particular question.
Term
Issue Publics
Definition
Groups of people who pay attention to one particular issue. Ex. Parents and teachers are more knowledgeable about school operations and budgets. Human services providers are more knowledgeable about welfare and other public assistance policies.
Term
Mass Media
Definition
Affordable communications technologies capable of reaching an extensive audience.
Term
Partisan Press
Definition
Describes a pattern of organizing competing journalism outlets along party lines
Term
Public Press
Definition
The print media responsible for gathering and publishing news in the form of newspapers or magazines. (better definition?)
Term
Gatekeeping
Definition
Explains how the media chooses which stories to publish, and which to focus on. Inevitably, they leave some things out, and certain publications will focus on one story over another
Term
Issue Framing
Definition
The power of the media to influence how events and issues are interpreted.
Term
Media Biases
Definition
Ideological bias, biased story selection, professional bias
Term
Ideological Bias
Definition
The idea that the media is slanted either conservatively or liberally.
Term
Biased Story Selection
Definition
The bias of the media to only report negative things, new things, sudden or short-term things that political implcations, or things that people can understand
Term
Professional Bias
Definition
The bias of reporters only being able to uncover only a small fraction of the news they report, "probably less than one-quarter." Also, the bias of focusing on entertaining stories.
Term
Selective Perception
Definition
Idea that listeners absorb information consistent with their predispositions and discount the rest.
Term
Adversarial Journalism
Definition
(need better definition) Journalism that regularly opposes something, like the government.
Term
Iron Triangle
Definition
Three-way alliance between congressional committees, executive agendas, and interest groups that dominate policy. The CC provided an agency with budgetary support. The agency produced outcomes favored by the interest group. The interest group provided campaign support to the members of the CC. Preconditions for these are almost gone today.
Term
Interest Groups
Definition
Organizations made up of people with common interests that participate in politics on behalf of their members (but do not actually hold power in government).
Term
Pluralism
Definition
In a general sense, the acknowledgement of diversity. The idea that each group's ideas hold equal merit. Encourages debate, conflict management, and, above all, respect and tolerance.
Term
Neocorporatism
Definition
Favored economic tripartism which involved strong labor unions, employers' unions, and governments that cooperated as "social partners" to negotiate and manage a national economy.
Term
Free Rider
Definition
Someone who reaps the benefits of a group without giving anything back
Term
Lobbying
Definition
Consists of attempts by group representatives to influence the decisions of public officials.
Term
Program-monitoring
Definition
Involves the ongoing collection of information to determine if programs are operating according to plan
Term
Disturbance Theory
Definition
People are brought together when they are adversely affected by a disturbance—some identifiable event that alters the equilibrium in a sector of society.
Term
Selective-incentives theory
Definition
People are brought together by the rewards or incentives that help them to overcome the “free rider” phenomenon; people have to contribute to the group for the incentives.
Term
Entrepreneur Theory
Definition
People are brought together by ambitious, energetic, entrepreneurial leadership.
Term
Solidary benefits
Definition
Selective benefit: Social incentives of joining a group, give money/time because they get friendship, networking, parties.
Term
Material benefits
Definition
Selective benefit: Joining a group because membership confers tangible benefits. Ex: mailing list, access to group that could find potential campaign.
Term
Purposive Benefit
Definition
Selective Benefit: feel good you belong to a group because of its good cause.
Term
Three types of interest group inequality
Definition
Representational, Resource, and Access
Term
Representational Inequality
Definition
Interest group inequality: Interest group members tend to be financially well-off and better educated
Term
Resource Inequality
Definition
(definition needed)
Term
Access Inequality
Definition
(definition needed)
Term
PAC
Definition
Political Action Committee—Specialized organizations for raising and spending campaign funds. Many are connected to interest groups.
Term
(Party) Machine
Definition
The tremendous effort in campaigns. Parties reached such a high level of organization in many cities tat they were referred to as this.
Term
Plus side of strong parties
Definition
They organize political life. Without them, democracy would be too disorganized to operate except at the local level. Parties recognize that they will be judged by their collective performance, giving them an incentive to fashion a party record worth defending. Parties help synthesize societal demands into public policy. Parties help winnow the field of candidates.
Term
Minus side of political parties
Definition
Parties do not always provide the valuable services of which they are capable; they are not formed for the public good, but to when elections and gain power. Parties strong enough to organize politics are also strong enough to abuse their power. A strong party that controls its members can become an "elected dictatorship." Parties may choose to suppress issues rather than address them. Parties may attempt to confuse responsibility so that they can escape blame for bad times. Opposition parties may concentrate on blocking the governing party's initiatives.
Term
Divided Government
Definition
When one party holds the presidency but does not control congress. Makes the temptation to torpedo other party's initiatives especially strong.
Term
Patronage
Definition
The dispensation of government jobs and contracts
Term
Ticket Splitting
Definition
Voters supporting candidates of different parties in the same election.
Term
Soft money
Definition
Unregulated campaign money expended largely by political party organizations. Money spent directly on the political organization instead of the candidate.
Term
Realignment
Definition
The switching of voter preference from one party to another (better definition?)
Term
Electoral College
Definition
The American system of electing a president—No regular citizen ever actually casts a ballot for president—they vote for electors who are pledged to vote for a certain candidate. 538 electoral college votes. 270 needed to win.
Term
Matching Funds
Definition
Qualifying presidential candidates may have their fund raising matched, dollar for dollar, as long as they agree not to exceed a spending limit, and as long as they continue to do well in successive state primaries.
Term
FECA
Definition
Federal Elections Campaign Act—Says that candidates may accept public funding for the entire general-election campaign.
Term
Political Party
Definition
A political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office.
Term
Party Identification
Definition
The two-thirds of the American electorate that identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans.
Term
Voting-age population
Definition
The number of people older than the age of 18, a number that includes some groups legally ineligible to vote: felons, people confined to mental institutions, and noncitizens.
Term
SMDP
Definition
Single-Member District Plurality—The candidate with the plurality (not always the majority) of votes in a district is the only candidate elected to office.
Term
(MM)PR
Definition
Mixed-member Proportional Representation—A party receives congressional seats according to its share of the vote.
Term
Suffrage
Definition
The right to vote.
Term
Suffrage
Definition
The right to vote.
Term
Voter Turnout
Definition
The percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election (read page 162-165)
Term
Retrospective Voting
Definition
Voting on the basis of past performance
Term
Incumbency Advantage
Definition
The electoral benefit of being an incumbent, after taking into account other relevant traits. (Page 179-180)
Term
Closed Primary
Definition
Only members of the party can participate in the primary.
Term
Open Primary
Definition
Any registered voter can participate in only one party’s primary.
Term
Open Seat
Definition
A seat for a primary with no incumbent running. They are critical to political change within a party because few incumbents lose primaries.
Term
Gerrymandering
Definition
Redistricting to benefit a certain group. Politicians are accused of drawing boundary lines to benefit their own party.
Term
Responsible Party Government
Definition
Requires that voters hold parties electorally accountable for their performance in control of government
Term
Reasons for low voter turnout
Definition

registration requirement, not mandatory, elections held on Tuesdays, more frequent, subject to jury duty if registered, decline in social connectedness