Chapter 13† Voting Behavior: The Impact of Public Opinion and†††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† ††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††the Media
Demographics are determined every year based on:
The impact of immigrants has been a key factor in the nationís population increase.† They came mainly in three trends:
∑ Pre-Civil War (English, Irish, and Germans)
∑ Post Civil War (Italians, Jews, Asians, Poles, and Russians)
∑ Post WWII (Central and Latin America and
Things that greatly affect voting patterns include:
Party identification is a key factor in determining voter turnout and voter preference, so you would think Democrats would have the edge.† Until 1994 Democrats dominated both houses after WWII.† Recent trend have shown that voters (especially in the 1996 election) have not straight party line voted.
There has been an inconsistency between voter participation and the amount and type of election coverage provided I the campaigns.† A decline in party identification has shown that eligible voter would rather not vote in elections.
The history of suffrage has been characterized by minority groups fighting for their right to vote.† When the Constitution was ratified only white male property owners were allowed to vote and now there is a potential for over 200 million people to vote in an election.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited the use of any registration requirement that resulted in discrimination and paved the way for the involvement of the federal government to enforce the law.
People in mental institutions, the homeless, convicted felons, and dishonorably discharged soldiers have been denied the right to vote in some states.
Public opinion can be defined as the attitudes, perceptions, and viewpoints individuals hold about politics and government.
Parallels between the factors that influence voting patterns and factor molding public opinion include:
∑ The family
∑ The schools
∑ The church
∑ Molders of public opinion
∑ The mass media
Pollsters want to find what Americans are thinking so poll-taking has increased in scope and importance. The qualities that can be measured include the intensity of peopleís beliefs, wants and needs translated into policy, and public opinion on any given issue.
Overall, most polls have accurately predicted voter trends and have been responsible in the manner in which they have been taken and reported, but polling organizations have recently came under fire in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
The Mass Media
From the coverage of the
ratification of the Constitution to the current war in
Americans desire for information has aided in the development of new technologies, which eventually led to the growth of the Internet.
Many candidates feel that the media is unfair in the manner in which they cover a campaign or administration.† Several presidents have developed successful strategies to control media access by controlling the flow of information, limiting access of the media, and talking onl