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Reflect and assess a popular public opinion poll that attempts to measure political ideology

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Reflect and assess a popular public opinion poll that attempts to measure political ideology

For this assignment, I am asking you to complete, reflect on, and then assess a popular public opinion poll that attempts to measure political ideology. 

 

Objectives:  Project 2 is designed to help you

  • consider and explain aspects of your own political thinking;
  • explain at least one strain of contemporary U.S. political thought;
  • evaluate a prominent tool for measuring contemporary U.S. public opinion.

 

Assignment:  Take the Pew Research Center’s “Political Typology Quiz” at

http://www.people-press.org/quiz/political-typology/.  After completing the survey, write a paper of at least 700 words of text that addresses the following:

  • Based on your responses, what category best describes you, and what, according to Pew, does this category mean?   (Be sure to put this into your own words (i.e., paraphrase)—this is not a cut-and-paste exercise!).  Does this category seem consistent with your thinking overall?
  • According to the site, where does “your” category fall on a typical left-right ideological spectrum, and how large is your category within the American public? How helpful is it to see this particular breakdown of liberalism v. conservatism across the U.S., rather than the more basic left-to-right continuum?
  • Considering the assigned materials for Week 3, including the Bianco & Canon readings, discuss how useful this poll is for evaluating political ideology. For example, how fair (or biased) are the questions?  Give examples.  How successfully does the survey capture the most important issues facing America, or are there key issues that are left out entirely?  Are there issues included in the survey that are

not at all important?  Did any of the questions surprise you, or did they touch on issues that you’d not considered before (i.e., your “latent” political views?)  Explain, with examples as appropriate.

  • Take a look at Pew’s explanation of its “Methodology” (on E-Res); you can focus specifically just on the first paragraph. Based on the assigned reading from Bianco & Canon and the tutorials posted for Week 3, Module 1, such as the “How to Read a Political Poll” video (from CQ Roll Call’s D.C. Decoder series), what can you tell about how solid this poll is?  For example, what steps did Pew take to help provide a “representative sample” of adults in America, and how convinced are you that they accomplished this?  (NOTE:  Admittedly, this is pretty dense reading, but do your best to apply what’s in the readings and the tutorials to see what’s going on here.  The goal is to push you to evaluate polls, since we get bombarded with them all the time in the news.)   You’ll need to cite at least the Pew reading, as well as the video and the Bianco and Canon book, in the text of your paper and in the Reference List. 

 

Instructions:

  • NOTE: The minimum length for this project is 500 words of actual text (i.e., while you need to include a Reference List, the Reference List entries do not count toward the length of the paper).
  • For this Project, you need to use APA-appropriate references to document your sources. Even though I’m directing you to all of the necessary sources, you need to practice documenting sources for your own research/writing. 
  • This is NOT a cut-and-paste exercise, so you need to be paraphrasing the relevant materials (i.e., putting them into your own words).  

 

 

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