rational appeals affect citizens ’ political views W r i t i n g

rational appeals affect citizens ’ political views W r i t i n g

Base your responses on the assigned readings and videos, directly citing the materials to substantiate your response IN EACH PART where appropriate and applicable WITH DIRECT QUOTES AND PAGE NUMBERS. The political documentaries are intended to complement the assigned readings. I expect to see direct and multiple references to the assigned materials. Directly reference the AM GOV text 3-4 times in EACH part to earn full credit.


For Part I, select ONE of the questions below and respond in sufficient detail, making as many connections as possible to the AM GOV text.

Question 1. Public opinion can dramatically shift in the face of major upheaval. Pearl Harbor, the Great Depression, 2001, and terrorist attacks are good examples of this phenomenon. Are there any events that may occur which could have a similar effect? Consider issues such as the federal deficit, declining American economic power, environmental pollution, increasing drug use and criminal violence, a burgeoning elderly population, AIDS, or any other issue that might seem appropriate. Discuss in sufficient detail.

Question 2. The democratic ideal is that public opinion should shape government policy. What are the most effective means for determining public opinion on a given issue? What flaws are inherent in each method of determining public opinion? Discuss in sufficient detail.

Question 3. Some people are more knowledgeable, interested, ideological, and hence more politically active, than others. What accounts for these variations in politicization and what can be done to increase the level of political awareness in the general population? What are the likely policy consequences if the situation remains unchanged? Discuss in sufficient detail.

Question 4. In the United States, the “people” are supposed to rule. However, the “people” are divided into many different groups, based on religion, geography, gender, age, and so forth. To what degree do racial, ethnic, regional, and other identities shape and determine the political beliefs of individual Americans? In light of the many different types of Americans, is it useful to speak of a single American people? Discuss in sufficient detail.

Question 5. Consider the various agents of political socialization that shape Americans’ political views. Which of these agents has the most important and lasting influence? Considering the impact of these agents on individuals’ beliefs, are citizens best viewed as independent rational actors, or as products of their circumstances? How effectively, in other words, can rational appeals affect citizens’ political views? Discuss in sufficient detail.

Question 6. Political scientists have determined that public opinion has a strong influence on public policy. In light of the extent of the average citizen’s political knowledge, is this encouraging news? How much does the average citizen know about domestic policy and foreign affairs? Which groups exhibit the highest degree of political knowledge? Should these groups have political power commensurate with their greater knowledge, or should American democratic politics retain an even playing field?


Take the following quiz and share your results:

According to the Pew Research Center Typology Test, the political spectrum (going from left-to-right) reflects the following political views:

  • Very Liberal – Liberal – Moderate – Conservative – Very Conservative

You can also identify with a political party (going from left-to-right):

  • Strong Democrat – Democrat – Independent (Leaning Democrat) – Independent (No Leaning) – Independent (Leaning Republican) – Republican – Strong Republican

After visiting this website and taking the quiz, are you a Republican or Democrat on the political spectrum? Conservative or Liberal? Do you agree with the results? Where do you fit on the political map/spectrum? How much in common do you have with the Millennial generation? How much in common or how different are your political views compared to your family, friends, coworkers, and other students in your class(es)? In sufficient detail, relate response to your political views and of course the assigned readings.


First, if you voted, what motivated you to vote? If you didn’t vote, what would motivate you to vote in upcoming elections (e.g. issues, candidates, political causes, celebrities)? Discuss how you participate in politics and how are you involved in your community? Second, related to the socialization process and agents in Chapter 6), how has your family shaped your political views? What about your education? Your religion? Other factors? Third, discuss how public opinion influences the political process. How important should public opinion be for a public official? If you were president, how would you formulate views on foreign policy, healthcare, and economic growth? Would you utilize the results of opinion polls?

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