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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Public Opinion Polls


Reminder: HW for your parents! Please have them take either the Pew Typology Quiz or theIdealog quiz and share their results with you. Record their ideology in your notes. How does it compare to yours?We will talk about the results and political socialization in class Thursday.

Can a survey of 1000 people accurately reflect the views of a country with over 300 million people? Why or why not? Discuss with your neighbor what you think.

Public opinion is one way the people are linked to our elected officials. Government policy makers are supposed to represent the will of the people and the use of public opinion polls is one way that they can gauge citizens' views and preferences for different policy outcomes. But in a country as large as the United States, how can these polls accurately reflect what the people really want?

Task #1: First, read this article on How Polls are Conducted by the Gallup Organization, one of the largest and most famous polling companies in the U.S.

Task #2: Next, go through this presentation on what makes a poll valid.







Task #3:
Polling Validity


Based on the information provided, determine whether the poll is valid. Mark V for valid, I for invalid. If the poll is invalid, explain what makes it invalid. You can just write your answers in your notes.


_______1. A random telephone survey of 1,152 people was conducted. They were asked, “Do you support or oppose the US war involvement in Afghanistan?” The answer choices were support or oppose.
_______2. A survey of 1,229 people exiting Worlds of Fun was conducted. They were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy?” The answer choices were approve or disapprove.

______3. A random telephone survey of 452 people was conducted. They were asked, “How likely are you to vote in the primary election?” The answer choices were very likely, likely, unlikely, not very likely.
_______4. A random telephone survey of 989 people was conducted. They were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes?” The answer choices were: approve, disapprove, no opinion


_______5. A random telephone survey of 1072 people was conducted.  They were asked, “What should be done to improve the economy?”
_______6. A random telephone survey of 1,266 people was conducted.  They were asked, “If the election were held today, who would you vote for?” The answer choices were: Barack Obama, Michelle Bachman, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul.
_______7. A random telephone survey of 1,319 people was conducted. They were asked, “Don’t you agree that teachers in the United States are underpaid?” The answer choices were: Agree, Disagree, No Opinion


_______8. A random telephone survey of 1,285 high school students was conducted. They were asked, “Do you favor lowering the drinking age to 18?” The answer choices were: Strongly favor, Favor, No Opinion, Oppose, Strongly Oppose


_______9. A random telephone survey of 1470 people was conducted. They were asked, “Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?” The answer choices were: Strongly support, Support, No Opinion, Oppose, Strongly Oppose.

_______10. An online poll asked people if the death penalty should be repealed. There were 2,385 responses. The answer choices were: Repeal the death penalty, Keep the death penalty


Task #4:
Go to the website, http://www.pollingreport.com/, a collection of public opinion polls on a variety of topics. Look at some of the public opinion polls for at least two different topics/issues.

Record your findings (in your notes) for each of the following:

1. Name of organization conducting the poll
2. Date poll was conducted
3. Sample size (n=??)
4. Margin of error (MOE)
5. Specific question
6. Results
7. Evaluate the results. Any interesting or surprising findings?


Some Major Polling Organizations:



Review Videos










Start at the 3:30 mark for how polls are conducted

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Analyzing Voter Behavior

HW for Wednesday: Read 126-136 and take the reading quiz. Remember to put your hour # before your last name with no space (ex. 2Gates)

HW for your parents! Please have them take either the Pew Typology Quiz or the Idealog quiz and share their results with you. Record their ideology in your notes. How does it compare to yours?We will talk about the results and political socialization in class Thursday.

Liberal/Conservative T-Chart Review



Here are the results from our Pew Typology quiz from yesterday. For more detailed responses, please click here. Pew Research also has a great analysis of the different typologies and their different voting behavior.




You can see the demographic differences between the different typology groups here. We can also compare how the typologies differ on different issues.

Let's take a closer look at some of these typologies and how they impact behavior. Read this article on how typologies differ based on age. How do the typologies change as people age?


Generally speaking, liberals tend to vote Democrat while conservatives are most likely to vote Republican. Based on the 2012 Presidential election exit poll data, analyze the voting behavior and political ideology of the following groups and/or differences. For longitudinal data, check out the NY Times exit poll data from 1972-2008.


Answer the following questions based on the data below:

1. Gender--what are the voting differences between men and women?
2. Race--What voting differences exist among African American, White, Latino,  and Asian groups?
3. Education--How does education affect voter behavior?
4. Income--How does income affect voter behavior?
5. Religion--What voting differences exist based on religious beliefs?
6. Region--Are there certain areas of the country that are more liberal/conservative?








Monday, August 29, 2016

Liberal, Conservative, & Libertarian Ideologies

HW for Tuesday: Please read 136-147 in Janda and take the reading quiz. Also, if you don't complete the Pew Ideology quiz (or t-chart) in class, please have completed for tomorrow.

IMPORTANT: Put your hour number in front of your last name (no space) whenever you take a reading quiz (ex. 2Gates)



Results from Friday's quiz:


National results from last year:




Today we are looking at political ideology, or the consistent set of beliefs and attitudes about government that people have. The two main ideologies are liberal and conservative. Here is a chart that illustrates some of these differences.




Task #1: Create a t-chart in your notes with one side labeled Liberal and the other side labeled Conservative. Organize the following terms/phrases below into their proper placement on the chart.
  • “Family values”
  • Active govt. to help individuals with education, health care, equal opportunity
  • Affirmative Action
  • Armed Deterrence
  • Change
  • Collectivism
  • Defenders of civil liberties
  • Environment
  • Equality
  • Exclusiveness
  • Inclusiveness
  • Individualism
  • Industry
  • Labor
  • Less spending=less taxes
  • Management
  • Merit
  • Minorities
  • More economic freedom
  • More government intervention in the economy
  • More power to the states
  • Pacifism
  • Private Sector
  • Pro-choice
  • Pro-life
  • Public Sector (government)
  • Redistribution of wealth
  • Religion
  • Science
  • Smaller government
  • Strong military
  • Tough on crime
  • Tradition
  • Wealthy
  • White Males

Task #2Take the Pew Political Typology Quiz, another political ideology quiz.

  • Record your results, including a description of that typology.
  • Do you agree with the results or not? Why or why not?
Videos for Review




Friday, August 26, 2016

Political Ideology Quiz #1





Over the next week, we will be looking at political ideology, political socialization, and public opinion. There are two main ideologies--liberal and conservative. However, there are other lesser known ideologies and variances among liberals and conservatives.



Today we are going to take the first of several ideology quizzes.

IDEAlog instructions:
1.  Go the the IDEAlog web site
2.  Click on Self Test (You may have to take the tutorial first)
3.  Read the introduction
4.  Read the tutorial
5.  Take the quiz

6.  Record your ideology by creating a matrix (see below) and placing a dot on the graph on where you fell in the matrix.
7.  Answer the questions below:
  • Which did you value more, freedom or order?
  • Which did you value more, freedom or equality?
  • According to IDEAlog, what political ideology do you have? 
  • Describe that ideology.  Do you think it is correct in its description of your beliefs?



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Housecleaning Day

Now that we have made it through a week of school, it is time to start taking care of some tasks so that we can begin delving into the study of government and politics.

Our first task is textbooks. Once you have textbook (Challenge of Democracy by Janda), please write your name on the inside cover and fill out this Textbook Checkout Inventory.



Next, we are going to go over some digital resources that we will be using throughout the year. Make sure to bookmark our class page gatesapgov.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @gatesapgov (or sign up for text messages).

Finally, we will take a look at the course syllabus.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An Overview of US Government

Some of you already have a strong interest and background in government, while others of you may be quite unfamiliar with the various components of our system. Today we will look at a brief overview of how our government operates and a preview of what to expect in AP Government this year. We will also look at some digital resources we will be using throughout the year.