US Government Honors: Chapter 12

Focus group
Small gathering of people whose response to something is used to predict the response of a larger population
Swing state
Those states where support for each candidate in an upcoming election is about equal
Stump speech
Standard speech that candidates give during a political campaign
Sound bite
A very brief segment of speech or statement usually broadcast on the radio or television
Explain why identifying the candidates supporters is so important to campaign strategy.
They can target their campaign to an audience they know will support them. They also have to make sure their audience will actually vote and are registered.
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Party building activities
Political party activities, such as voter registration drives and television ads supporting the party’s principles, that do not support specific candidates but instead promote the party
Soft money
Money that is given to a political party rather than to a specific candidate
Leadership PACs
Political action committees that are separate from the office holders campaign organization
Issue ads
Advertisements that support or oppose candidates’ views without specifically calling for their election or defeat
527 Group
Tax exempt organization created to influence an election by attempting to influence voters’ opinions about candidates or issues without directly calling for a candidate’s election or defeat
Poll workers
People hired by local election officials to manage voting on Election Day
Poll watchers
Volunteers that a party or candidate sends to polling places to ensure that the election the is run fairly
From what four sources do most candidates get campaign contributions?
Individuals, PAC, political party contributions, public funding
What age group has the lowest voting rate?
18-24
Which form of political participation is the most important in a democratic republic?
Voting
Explain why identifying the candidate’s supporters is so important to the campaign strategy
Candidates can spend less money campaigning for people they know already support them and more on people they need to gain support from
How big of an influence are Internet-based communications on modern political campaigns? Explain.
They are particularly important for reaching out to the younger audiences, whose voting percentages are relatively low, but use of internet is very high. For all audiences however, the internet is still a common source of information from which they can learn more about the presidential candidates.
Are soft money contributions limited by the FEC?
No, they are unlimited
Explain the difference between majority and plurality.
Majority is getting more than half the votes, plurality is when a candidate has more votes than any other candidate. If there are 4 candidates and one gets 40% and the rest get 20% each, the candidate with 40% wins with plurality even though they got less than half of the votes.
Explain how First Past the Post elections eventually lead to a 2 party system.
If many parties are running at first, there will still be two main parties. As each election goes on the parties that know they have no chance of winning withdraw, and this process continues each election until all parties have withdrawn but the two most popular ones.
Explain how 3rd party candidates can play the role of spoiler.
If the 3rd party candidate gets a lot of favor and has similar views as one of the two main candidates, the support they get can detract voters from the main candidate with which they are similar, resulting in neither of them being able to get a majority vote and for their opposing party to win the election
What is the total number of electoral votes?
538
How is this number of electoral votes found?
435 house members
100 senate members
3 votes for DC
Which states does the electoral college system favor?
Smaller states that get the 3 minimum votes even though their population may be deserving of less.
Who actually elects the president?
The electoral college members
Name problems with the electoral college.
Unequal voting power depending on where you live
The winner-takes all method
Someone can win the electoral votes needed to win the election without actually having the popular vote
The electors can still choose whomever they would like to be president regardless of what their voters want
Explain the 4 proposed reforms to the Electoral College
Direct popular vote: electoral college is abolished, everyone’s votes are counted and whoever gets the most votes, but not necessarily the majority, wins the election
District plan: electoral votes are divided by district, allocating one vote to each district and using the remaining two as a bonus for the statewide popular vote winner, however, could lead to gerrymandering.
Proportional Plan: each states electoral votes are split in accordance with their popular vote percentages. So if a candidate got 45% of the popular vote in a state they wouldn’t surrender all electoral votes to the other candidate, but rather only the 55% that the other candidate received, this could allow for the rise of the 3rd party candidate
Bonus Plan: the current electoral college system is retained, but extra electoral votes are given as a bonus to the popular vote winner in each state. Giving 102 extra electoral votes nationally, 2 bonus votes every state plus 2 for DC. This extra boost of votes can almost guarantee that popular vote winner is the electoral college winner.
What would have to happen for one of the 4 above reforms to actually be used?
For the direct popular vote, a constitutional amendment is needed, meaning that this reform needs support of 2/3 congress and 3/4 of the states.
Government shutdown
Conservatives don’t like Obamas recent action on immigration and do not wish to fund it and also it seems likely there will be another government shutdown because of it
Ferguson grand jury
The officer will not be facing charges for shooting an unarmed teenager. Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted.
Keystone pipeline
There has been a proposed expansion. The pipeline already goes from Canada to United States. The expansion called keystone XL pipeline would run through more oil in places that have an abundance, such as Texas, increasing the company’s oil output
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