GOVT2305 Brookhaven Ch 5 & 8 Federal Government Political Ideology Test

1. Some contend that while Americans may be divided by ideology or opinion, they are united by fundamental political values. Describe these core values and discuss a specific example of how their practical interpretations might conflict.

2. What is the difference between a value and a political ideology? Describe some of the characteristics and beliefs that define liberalism, conservatism, and libertarianism in contemporary American politics. What are the main differences between liberalism and conservatism in terms of their emphasis on core American values?

3. In a democracy, it is assumed that elected representatives should implement the policies favored by the people. Discuss how often public opinion actually influences government policy in the United States and whether government is equally responsive to all members of the public. Is there any evidence that government policy might influence public opinion?

4. Describe how public opinion is measured and some of the challenges that arise with polling. Specifically, discuss what sampling is, why sampling is used, and how the problems of social desirability effects, selection bias, the bandwagon effect, and push polling undermine survey research.

5. The First Amendment assigns a special role for the media by providing for freedom of speech and a free press. What are the responsibilities of the media in a democratic society? What are some of the challenges the American media faces in fulfilling its democratic responsibilities? How have government actions helped or hurt the media’s ability to fulfill its democratic responsibilities in the last 50 years?

6. The proportion of Independents, Democrats, and Republicans in the American public has changed significantly over the last five decades. Describe these changes and discuss how party identification varies across social groups. Is there evidence that a party dealignment is occurring in the United States? Explain.

7. Explain why people vote. In your answer, be sure to cite specific evidence to show how the factors you mention are related to voter turnout.

8. Analyze the theory of pluralism. You should discuss the following: (A) the main assumptions of pluralism concerning the role of interests and factions in American politics; (B) James Madison’s concerns about factions and their effects on government; and (C) some contemporary criticisms of pluralism in American politics.

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