POLS 107

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Politics and Public Opinion

 

Description:

Health care reform, immigration, gun control, marriage equality. What do ordinary citizens think about political issues like these? How do we measure their opinions, and what role do they play in the political process? In this course we will explore these questions from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Students will learn about how public opinion surveys are designed and conducted, and the ways in which political scientists, politicians, and the media use this information. We will consider how socialization, psychological processes, and ideology shape individuals attitudes, as well as group-based dif- ferences in opinion, and trends in public opinon over time. We will critically examine the role of the media in collecting, reporting, and possibly shap- ing public opinion. Finally, we will consider how politicans use information about public opinion, and whether or not it has a significant effect on public policy at the end of the day. Students will also get some hands-on experience working on a survey at the Survey & Policy Research Institute (SPRI) on campus.

Prerequisites:

Upper division standing or instructor consent

Units:

3

Grading:

Normal Grading Rules