Pol S 215 American Politics: Quiz #3 Answer Range (27 Oct. 2005)




The first ten questions can be answered with a phrase or a few sentences. You should be able to answer them in the space below each. Each question is worth 6 points.


1). How does Page & Shapiro’s view of the “rational public” differ from the “myth of the volatile public”?


- P&S say the public collectively has stable, structured views and responds to information  rather than being moody or having “non-attitudes”



2) What is meant by political socialization? What are two groups that affect one’s socialization?


- text def.  p.103


3) What effect does the Condorcet or Voter’s Paradox have on collective opinion?


- collective p.o, is irrational


4) According to the Persuaders video, what role did “narrow-casting” play in the 2004 Iowa Democratic primary?


-          Kerry’s campaign was able to target voters likely to vote Kerry and direct messages to them

-          It enabled Kerry to win the primary (alternative answer)


5) Why is it costly and difficult to organize collective action according Mancur Olson’s collective action theory?


-          people will free-ride rather than contribute

-          benefits are diffuse rather than concentrated (alternative answer)


6) How are interest groups like labor unions, consumer advocates, and business associations different from groups like environmental, civil rights, and scientific groups?


- the former are economic interests the latter are principled or purposive interests


7) What are two reasons Tocqueville gives for why democracy is strengthened by civic associations?


-          citizens organize without dependency on the state or aristocrats

-          citizens learn to bargain and compromise; to act politically

-          “Feelings and opinions are recruited, the heart is enlarged, and the human mind is developed only by the reciprocal influence of men upon one another.”




8) What is “social capital,” and what are some of the effects of its decline?  


features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit.”

-         Less local voluntary & cooperative activity in US

·                    Greater reliance on state

·                    Less cooperation outside state control


9) According to lecture, what are two reasons to believe that politics could be the cause of the decline in associational life?


-         personalization of presidential campaigns v. party control

-          centralization of party activities v. local activism

-          less competition due to gerrymandering

-          parties no longer ‘free schools’ for association


10) Is voter turn-out as a portion of the voting-eligible population since 1945 in decline? Is it by a large amount (e.g., over 10 percent, or by less than 10%?)


Yes, but not by a large amount



The next two questions should be answered in one or two paragraphs, using complete sentences. Each is worth 20 points.


9) Why did the Supreme Court strike down some provisions of the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act? What are some key provisions that it kept? How has the Supreme Court ruled in challenges to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002?



FECA violated freedom of speech by limiting how much of their own money individuals and candidates could spend because effective speech requires spending money (e.g., advertising).


It allowed the federal matching fund program  and limits on spending and contributions for those taking part in that program to remain. It also established the FEC to monitor campaign finance.


So far, the SCOTUS has upheld the provisions of the McCain-Feingold legislation.




10) According to the lecture, there are many impediments to the emergence of a third party. Describe two of them in detail.


Some combination of these:



Restrictive Ballot Access Rules


-         states determine rules for appearing on ballot


-         some states have high "barriers to entry"


o       states with higher number of electoral votes, dominance of one party, or less organized parties have stricter ballot access laws (Lewis-Beck & Squire, 1995)


o       e.g., in CA, House candidate must submit 150 signatures from eligible voters in district in 54 days to avoid $1,621.00 filing fee;


o       Senate candidates must collect 10,000 signature to avoid 3,242.00 fee, and collect 165,573 nominating signatures from registered voters in 60 days; submit signatures to county officials of voter's county




Campaign Finance Provisions


-          major parties get full matching up to $20 million inflation adjusted dollars ($74.692 million in 2004)


-          major party is a party's whose candidate in the prior election received 25% or more of the popular vote


-          minor parties get share of major party funds up to the ratio of their percentage of the vote to the average of the major party candidates’ percentage of the vote in the last election


-         minor party candidate must have received at least 5% of the popular vote.


-         A new minor party candidate must gain 5% of vote to be eligible for funding after election


-         - get less than 5%....




"Lock-In" by Major Parties & Media


-         Congressional committee system has no place for independents


-         Media covers most popular candidates


-         Debates restricted to candidates likely to receive at least 5% of vote