Political Science | Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion
Y317 | 28472 | Gibson

Y317 Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion

In democracies, free and fair elections represent the primary avenue
by which the mass public exercises influence over governmental
actions.  To have a fuller understanding of our political system and
the role of the people in a democracy, we must investigate the nature
of public opinion and voter decisions.  How malleable is public
opinion and what issues are most important to the American public? How
do the media influence public opinion? Why do people vote and why do
they choose not to vote? When they do vote, what factors explain their
decision at the voting booth? How do political parties, laws and
political candidates affect voter choice?  We will examine the
presidential elections of 2008 and historical trends of elections in
the United States with these questions in mind.  We will also examine
the role of race, gender and youth participation in the 2008 election.
Studentsí regular attendance and participation will be essential to
do well in this course.