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POS final
State and Local Goverment
Political Studies
Undergraduate 1

Additional Political Studies Flashcards




Socieconomic conditions, political system characteristics, and policy outcomes

A) Example of socieconomic conditions and effect on policy outcomes, relationship between state per capita income and support for strict enviromental regulations

B) Example of political system characteristics and effect on policy outcomes; relationship between school board electoral structures (at large vs. ward elections), school board representation (by race) , and student achievement levels

Economic Development
Consists of population growth, income levels, and education levels.
Population Growth
states grew unevenly from 1990 to 2000 (California, 4.1 million; Texas 3.9, Florida 3) ; growth rates perhaps more important than raw growth from policy standpoint
Personal Income
rising p.i. indicates increased worker productivity and the creation of wealth (however, also consider inflation and cost-of-living)
an economically developed society requires educated workers (in 1970, about 11% of U.S. population had completed 4 or more years of college, by 2000, over 25%)
African Americans

A) In 1900, 89.7% of African Americans lived in the South

B) By 2000, 51% of African Americans lived in the South (55%)

C) Today, the nation's 37 million African Amercians compromise 13% of total population -26% of Alabama pop


A) Tremendous growth in the last decade in the numbers and percentage of Hispanic Americans

B) In 2000, Hispanics became the nations largest miniority

C) Term Hispanic refers to persons of Spanish-speaking ancestry and culture, reguardless of race

D) Major Hispanic subgroups in the US- Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puerto Ricans


A) Growing more rapidly than any other miniority

B) Today, constitute 5% of nations total


A) Set forth the structure and organization of government

B) distribute power among branches of government

C) prescribe the rules by which decisions will be made

D) limit the powers of government and protect the rights of citizens


A) Power is divided between national and subnation government

B) Both exercise separate and autonomous authority

C) Both elect their own officals

D) Both tax their own citizens and provide public services

E) The powers of the national and subnational government are guaranteed by a constitution that cannot be changed without the consent of both national and subnational populations

Unitary System
Is a constitutional arrangement whereby authority rests with the national government (e.g. Great Britain, France, and Italy)
Is a constitutional arrangement whereby the national government is created by and relies on subnational goverment for authority
How money shifted power to Washington

A) Over the years the national government has acquired much greater power in the federal

B) Delegated Powers-particulary the power to tax and spend for the general welfare

C) The sixteenth amendment, passed in 1913, gave the federal government-the power to tax income directly

D) The federal "grant-in-aid" has been the prinicipal instrument in the expanison of national; more than one-fifth of all state and local government revenues are currently derived from federal grants

E) A grant-in-aid is a payment of funds by one level of goverment (national or state) to be expended by another level (state or local) for a specified purpose, usually on a matching funds basis

F) Categorical grants are grants for specific, narrow projects, usually high federal oversight.

G) Block grants are grants for general government functions, such as health and social services; usually lower federal oversight

Arguments for Greater National Authority

A) There is insuffcient awareness of social problems by state and local governments; grants-in-aid priorites in all levels of government

B) Grants-in-aid provide the necessity impetus for coordinated social change

C) Grants-in-aid allow national government to ensure a minimium level of public service (such as welfare benefits) throughout the nation

D) Washington has more power and resources than do state and local governments; which many liberals reguard as too slow, cumbersome, weak, and unresponsive

Arguments Against Greater National Authority

A) Grass-roots government promotes a sense of self-responsibility and self-reliance

B) State and local government can better adapt public programs to local needs and conditions; federal standards and guidelines restrict flexibility

C) Federal grants cause state and local officals to overspend what looks to them like "free" money

National Goverment's Obligatin to the States

States are guaranteed:

A) Territorial Intergrity

B) A republican form of government

C) Equal representation in the U.S. senate

D) Protection against foreign invasion and domestic violence

E) A role in the constitutional amendment ratification process; the US constitution cannot be amended without the approval of three-fourths of the states, either by their state legislatures or state constitutional ratifying conventions

Voter Turnout

A) About half of America's eligible voters do not vote in presidential elections

B) Turnout is about 35% of voting age population in congressional "off-year" elections (when president is not on the ballot)

C) Turnout for gubernational electional when they are held seperately from national elections, average about 25% to 35% turnout

D) City and county elections, when they are held separately from national elections, average about 25% to 35% turnout

E) Some political theorists argue that taking the time and effort to vote is not "rational" (and therefore no one would do it) if you consider only direct personal and tangible benefits; therefore, we must consider the intrinsic (psychic) rewards of voting (e.g. feelings that you are doing your patriotic duty) when explaining turnout

Who fails to vote:

a. young

b. poor

c. the unemployed

d. the least-educated

e. the least educated

f. non-church goers

g. newcomers to a community

h. the alienated

i. the physically disabled

i. the physically disabled

j. blue collar workers

k. asians and lations

l. single parents in poor neighborhoods

m. independents

n. persons not contacted by a party or candidate

o. renters

The Republican Party has often opposed...
efforts to ease registration requirements (such as the mother voter act), presumably because most non-registered potential voters "fit" the democratic profile
Variation in Voter turnout among the states can be explained by

a. soci-economic characterists of their residents

b. party strength

c. difference in registration procedures

d. interparty competition

e. voting time, place, equipment, ballots, poll workers


The right to vote has been expaned by:

a. the nineteenth amendment (1920)  -women can vote

b. the fiftheenth amendment (1870) -all races can vote

c. elimination of "whte primaries"

d. twenty-fourth amendment -outlaw poll taxes

e. twenty-six amendment-must be 18 to vote

Miniorites in State Politics

A) voting rights act was strengthened in 1982, outlaws any electoral arrangement that has the EFFECT of weakening minority voting power

B) The U.S. Supreme Court requires state and cities to provide minorites with "a realistic opportunity to elect officals of their choice", court's decisions inspired racial gerrymaking

C) However, the constitutional status of affirmative racial gerrymandering remains unclear

Interest groupd activity and influence is larger in some states than in others; influence appears smaller in states with:

A) a diverse and complex economy

B) Strong political parties

C) a professionalized legislature

D) less-fragmented executive power


American Political Parties in Disarray:

A)The Responsible Party Model: a party system in which each party offers clear policy alternatives and holds their elected officals responsible for enacting these policies

B) The RPM does not accutately describe American Political parties now (and perhaps never did) for several reasons

a the parties do not offer the voters clear policy alternatives

b. voter decisions are not motivated primarily by policy considerations

c. American political parties have no way to bind their elected officals to party positions or even their campaign pledges

C) Over time parties in America have been weaked by various political developments:

a. the rist of primary elections

b. the declare of party indentification

c. the rise of candidate centered politics

d. the influences of the mass media, particulary television

e. the decline of patronage

f. the rise of single issue groups and PAC's

Types of primaries:

a. closed: voter must declare his party affliliation and can cast a ballot only in his own party's primary election

b. open: voter may cast a ballot in either party's primary election

c. blanket: voter may vote for both parties primary candidates *Supreme Court struck this down as "unconstitutional"

d. run-off primary: an additional primary held between the top two vote-getters in a primary where no candidate has recieved a majority of the vote (more than 50%)

State Party Organizations and Activists:

A) a small core of Democratic and Republican party activists can be found in every state

B) activists in the parties tend to be strong ideologues (people who take consistently liberal or conservative positions on issues)

C) Republican party activists tend to be very conservative, Democratic party activists, liberal *each state determine what a candidate has to do to qualify for the ballot

Republican and Democratic Party fortunes in the States:

A) Since the 1930s, the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats has declined, number identifying themselves as independents has increased

B) Consquently, there has been a rise in party competitiveness in many states, especially in the South

C) Divided government is increasing in the states, divided government occurs when the executive branch is controlled by one party and one or both houses of the legislature branch are controlled by the other party

The Policy Effects of Party Competition:

A) The party system will have little effect on public policy if:

a. There is a unimodal distribution of voters' preference in a state

b. the state parties are devoid of strong organizations and ideologically motivated activists

B) However, the parties in a state may offer clear policy alternatives if:

a. there is a bimodal distributin of voters preferences

b. the state parties are strong with ideologically motivated activists

C) State Republican and Democtatic Parties resemble the national Republican and Democratic parties only in those states where each party represents separate socieconomic constituencies

Functions of state legislatures

A) Pass laws (roughly 1,000 bills per session, varying by state)

B) propose state constitutional revisions

C) Consider ratifying proposed U.S. Constitutional Amendments (very frequently)

D) approve the state budgets (perhaps most important function)

E) servicing constituents (residents of a legislators district)

F) Overseeing state agencies (sunset laws aid legislators in task)

Socioeconomic Status of state legislators

A) state legislators in general are of a higher socioeconomic background than their constitents

B) state legislators often:

a. are upwardly mobile

b. have occupations with flexible hours and high social contact (e.g. lawyers, business, owners, and farmers)

c. well-educated

d. are lawyers

e. are "citizen-legislators" (they still need a full time job in addition to being a legislator)

-mass media elections weakened parties


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