This course is about the salience of public opinion and its influence on American Politics. Topics to be covered include many of the theories developed to explain how public opinion is formed, if and why it changes, and the relationship between public opinion and the political behavior of citizens and elites. Therefore, the course will describe and analyze many of the factors that influence the formation, structure and variation in public opinion: information processing, education, core values, racial attitudes, political orientation (ideology and party identification), political elites, social groups, the media and religion. Additional topics include presidential approval, congressional approval, and the relationship between public opinion and public policy. The course will also train students in several concepts of statistical analysis (assuming no prior knowledge) so that students can use these tools as part of their own research projects. Prerequisites: Previous coursework in American politics or communications.
Course Attributes: EN S; BU BA; AS SSC; FA SSC