Chapters 7-8-9 "Loose Ends"

conventional vs. unconventional participation

Voting in presidential elections is the most common form of political activity.

factors affecting voter turnout (especially socioeconomic status and education)

U.S. voter turnout compared to other Western democracies

"cross-pressure" (wanting to support your party but disagreeing with it on some of its key positions) lowers voter turnout.

What is a political party ?

What is a party platform ? (It is not uncommon for Presidentisl candidates to diverge from their party platform on many issues, especially after entering office).

What is soft money ?

What is hard money ?

What is the role of the Federal Election Commission ?

What is the most important resource in a campaign ?

political party identification - increasing or decreasing ?

What does it mean to vote a split ticket ?

the importance of primary elections as opposed to party conventions.

What is the difference between a caucus and a primary ?

open primary

closed primary (the most common type)

Why has the New Hampshire primary become so important ?

The replacement of the convention system by primaries has led to a weakening of party control over nominations and an increase in the number of people involved in the choice of candidates.Candidates today also rely much more on their own personal campaign organizations (ex."The War Room") rather than traditional party organizations. The "official" nomination, however, takes place at the convention.

class action suits are used to influence public policy through the courts.

What type of voters (demographic group) tends to vote in primary elections ?(the affluent and the

Which ethnic/religious groups tend to support which parties ?

Which of these group is the most heavly Democratic ?

Why are Cuban-Americans the most heavily Republican ?

Which demographic cgroup exhibited the biggest switch in party loyalty since the 1950's (and particularly since the 1

980's) ?

18-21 year olds (the most recent group to get the vote) turn out to vote at a lower rate than the rest of the electorate and people over 65 have the highest turnout. One reason being that voting is partly a matter of habit.

The number of female and minority group delegates at Democratic party conventions has grown since the 1980's.

Federalist #10

plurality election - the candidate with the most votes wins even if they don't get over 50%. (winner takes all)

A state's allocation of electoral votes is determined by the total number of Representatives and Senators who represent that state. This number is recalculated after every census.

The allocation of all the electoral votes from a particular state is determined by whoever wins by a plurality .

The "winner takes all" system makes it difficult for new parties to emerge and survive. Third parties often act as a "savety valve" for voters frustrated by the two major parties (or candidates).

The electoral college system encourages candidates to concentrate their campaign in the most populous states.


Since the 1960's there has been a shift of electoral votes and political influence from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West..

Critical elections (ex. 1932) typically occur when groups of voters change their pattern of party loyalty.In 1932 FDR was able to build a coalition of "Blue-collar" workers, racial minorities, Southerners and farmers.

Public (taxpayers) money is used to help fund Presidential election campaigns (This does not apply to Congressional campaigns) and money is the most important resource in a campaign.

Party identification is the most important influence on the choice of voters in Presidential elections although candidates often diverge from the party platform once in office.

In the 1980's Republican dominance in Presidential elections did not extend to congressional and local elections.

What is the central message of The Wizard of Oz ?