UNIT ONE TEST 1ST QUARTER
ESSAY TOPICS AND KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS
1. While citizens often disagree about what their government should do for them, all governments have certain functions in
common. Explain these common functions with specifics from your text.
2. The policymaking system is the process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time. Explain the specific aspects of
this system and how they are connected. Provide specifics from your text to support your answer.
3. Traditional democratic theory rests upon a number of key principles that specify how governmental decisions are made in a
democracy. Explain these principles with specifics from your text.
4. 2003 Question 2: Citizens often choose to participate in the political process in ways other than voting.
(a) Identify two forms of participation in the political process other than voting
(b) Explain two advantages of each form of participation you identified in (a).
5. 2004 Question 4: Trust and confidence in government have declined in recent decades.
(a) Explain how divided government has contributed to the decline in trust and confidence in government. Be sure to include a definition of divided government in your response.
(b) Explain how the increased cost of election campaigns has contributed to the decline in trust and confidence in government.
(c) Explain two specific consequences of the decline in trust and confidence in government for individual political behavior.
6. 1999 Question 1: In the 1990s, presidential election campaigns have become more candidate centered and less focused on issues
and party labels. This change has been attributed both to how the media cover presidential campaigns and to
how candidates use the media.
(a) Identify and explain two ways in which the media have contributed to candidate-centered presidential campaigns.
(b) Identify and explain two ways in which presidential candidates’ use of the media has contributed to candidate-centered campaigns.
Your answer should NOT include a discussion of presidential primary elections.
7. Describe the process of political socialization and identify the primary agents of socialization. Provide specifics from your text
and class to support your answer.
8. Identify the political beliefs that are likely to be preferred by liberals and conservatives. Give specifics from the chart in your text
and class to support your answer.
9. Explain how journalists define what is newsworthy, where they get their information and how they present it. Also explain the
role that the profit motive plays in decisions by the mass media on how to report the news.
10. Analyze the poll listed below and do the following:
(a) Identify the key components that are essential to recognizing the accuracy in public opinion polling.
(b) What “conclusions” can be drawn from this poll data and how “accurate” are these “conclusions”?
Refer to specifics from the poll below to support your answer.
Highlights from the Poll
GRAPHICS: Laura Stanton | The
KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS
Democracy: a means of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public's preferences.
Elite and class theory: argues that society is divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite rules on the basis of its wealth.
Government: institutions that make public policy for a society.
domestic product: the total value of
all goods and services produced annually by the
Hyper pluralism: argues that too many strong influential groups cripple the government's ability to make coherent policy by dividing government and its authority.
Individualism: a belief that individual problems can be solved by individual, not governmental, solutions.
Linkage institutions: institutions such as parties, elections, interest groups, and the media, which provide a linkage between the preferences of citizens and the government's policy agenda.
Majority rule: weighing the desires of the majority in choosing among policy alternatives.
Minority rights: protecting the rights and freedoms of the minority in choosing among policy alternatives.
Pluralist theory: argues that there are many centers of influence in which groups compete with one another for control over public policy through bargaining and compromise.
Policy agenda: the list of subjects or problems to which people inside and outside government are paying serious attention at any given time.
Policy gridlock: where each interest uses its influence to thwart policies it opposes so that no coalition forms a majority to establish policy.
Policymaking institutions: institutions such as Congress, the presidency, and the Courts established by the Constitution to make policy.
Policymaking system: institutions of government designed to respond to each other and to the priorities of the people by governmental action.
Political issue: this arises when people disagree about a problem or about public policy choices made to combat a problem.
Political participation: the ways in which people get involved in politics.
Politics: determines whom we select as our government leaders and what policies they pursue; in other words, who gets what, when, and how.
Public goods: things that everyone can share.
Public policy: a choice that government makes in response to some issue on its agenda.
Representation: the relationship between the leaders and the followers.
Single-issue groups: groups so concerned with one matter that their members cast their votes on the basis of that issue only.
Census: a count of the American population conducted every ten years.
Civil disobedience: a form of unconventional participation designed to consciously break a law thought to be unjust.
Demography: the science of human populations.
Exit poll: a poll taken at randomly selected polling places after the citizens have placed their votes.
Gender gap: a consistent attitudinal pattern where women are more likely than men to express liberal attitudes and to support Democratic candidates.
the mixture of cultures, ideas, and peoples in the
Minority majority: a reference to the impending status of white, Anglo-Saxon Americans, currently holding majority status.
Political culture: an overall set of values widely shared within a society.
Political ideology: a coherent set of values and beliefs about public policy.
Political participation: the activities used by citizens to influence political outcomes.
Political socialization: the process by which citizens acquire their knowledge, feelings, and evaluations of the political world.
Protest: a form of political participation designed to change policy through unconventional tactics.
Public opinion: the distribution of the population's beliefs about politics and issues.
Random digit dialing: phone numbers are dialed at random around the country.
Random sampling: a polling technique which is based on the principle that everyone has an equal probability of being selected as part of the sample.
Reapportionment: the reallocation of 435 seats in the House of Representatives based on changes in residency and population found in the census.
Sample: a small proportion of the population chosen as representative of the whole population.
Sampling error: the level of confidence involved in a sample result—the level is dependent on the size of the sample.
Beats: specific locations where news frequently occurs.
Broadcast media: one of two kinds of media, includes television and radio.
Chains: media conglomerates which control a large percentage of daily newspaper circulation and some television and radio stations as well.
High-tech politics: politics where technology has shaped political behavior and the political agenda.
Investigative journalism: the use of detective-like reporting methods to unearth scandals.
Mass media: media which reaches and influences both elites and the masses.
Media event: an event staged primarily for the purpose of being covered.
Narrowcasting: strategy of some broadcast channels that appeal to a narrow, rather than a broad, audience.
Policy agenda: the list of subjects or problems to which government officials and people outside of government closely associated with those officials are paying some serious attention at any given time.
Policy entrepreneurs: political activists who invest their political capital in an issue.
Press conferences: presidential meetings with the press.
Print media: one of two kinds of media, includes newspapers and magazines.
Sound bites: a portion of a speech aired on TV of fifteen seconds or less.
Talking head: a shot of a person's face talking directly into the camera.
Trial balloons: information leaked to the media to see what the political reaction will be.