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POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

 

Continuation of lecture from yesterday on political socialization

  • There is evidence that K through 12 education tends to inculcate standard political values for students.
    • Strong identification with democracy, although vaguely defined and often not critically examined.
    • Emphasis on the value of freedom over equality.
    • Strong identification with free enterprise and the American capitalist system.
    • Acceptance of the existence of a supreme being, if not inculcation into Christian thought.
  • These values tend to be reinforced by agents of socialization in the community.
  • There is evidence that higher education tends to break down some of the earlier learning.
    • But it depends on the nature of the higher education.
    • Prestigious, national schools like Northwestern are most corroding of parental, K 12, and community values.
  • This diversity may account for why schools like Northwestern also tend to produce students who are more liberal, rather than conservative


Explaining political participation

  • Are Americans politically apathetic?
    • Americans tend to vote at lower rates than citizens in other countries.
      • Compared with What? 7.2, page 222
    • But Americans tend to participate more in other forms of political participation.
      • both conventional participation
        • Compared with What? 7.1, page 214
      • and unconventional participation


How can one explain political participation?

  • Recognize that multiple factors cause political participation.
    • participation is the dependent variable--that to be explained
    • the explanatory factors are the independent variables, as in this model
  • Use a model for explain that accommodates multiple factors.
    • On pages 58 and 59, Dalton presents predictors of voting turnout and campaign activity
    • Unfortunately, these variables (turnout and campaign activity) are not included in his data set.
  • Multiple regression is statistical method for assessing the independent effects of a set of variables on a single dependent variable.
Multiple regression: the general model: Y = X1 + X2 + X3 + X4 + X5 + X6 + X7

Y = Voting turnout =

  • Education + Age + Male + Party attachment + Union attachment + Political satisfaction + Left/Right

    • Perfect explanation would result in a multiple correlation coefficient, R, of 1.0.
    • Short of perfection, the higher the R, the better the overall explanation.
    • The effect of these independent variables is expressed through regression coefficients, which state each variable's effect on the dependent variable in the United States.
      • .36 * Education
      • .21 * Age
      • .00 * Gender (0 = female and 1 = male)
      • .15 * Party attachment
      • .10 * Union attachment
      • .03 * Political satisfaction
      • .00 * Left/Right Position
    • The overall multiple correlation (R) = .42, not very high but respectable.


Figures 3.1 and 3.2 in Dalton uses regression analysis to assess the effect of different variables on political participation.

  • His technique to display the findings varies the thickness of the arrows to indicate the strength of the effects.
  • Studying these graphs disclose some important differences between the countries:
    • Education and age are the strongest predictors to turnout in the US and education is the only strong predictor to campaign activity.
    • In the other countries, party attachment is one of the strongest predictors to both turnout and campaign activity.
  • These data suggest that parties perform a more important role in other countries in mobilizing the citizenry to participate in politics than they do in the U.S., where participation is more individually-motivated.


Another attempt at logging into the UNIX computers.