Thursday, 1 November 2007

In with the new, out with the old

Well, it turns out I’m not teaching Congress after all in the spring; instead, for a variety of reasons too boring to go much into (mostly having to do with distribution requirements within the political science major), the king of the schedule and I decided that I should teach POLA 618, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, instead.

A book list will be forthcoming. Hopefully I can intercept things before the bookstore orders a bazillion copies of Unorthodox Lawmaking et al.


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[Permalink] 1. Scott wrote @ Sun, 4 Nov 2007, 1:26 pm CST:

I’m doing Public Opinion in the spring as well. I can’t decide whether to keep my Alvarez and Brehm requirement, or convert those readings into lectures and add something new.

One thing is for sure, I won’t decide until the Christmas break which means a lot of nasty emails from the folks at the book store


Since I’m shoehorning voting and public opinion into the same course, there’s going to be a lot of trimming, particularly since I’ll probably have to teach some baby stats in the course too so they can write decent research papers—it is a 600-level course, which I’m pretty sure means there’s a research paper requirement.

I’ll probably end up ditching Alvarez and Brehm too. I may even go without a pure PO book like Erikson & Tedin or the Glynn et al. one. Here’s my preliminary list:

  • Abramson, Aldrich, and Rhode (Change & Continuity), because students like concrete stuff.
  • Niemi and Weisberg (Controversies in Voting Behavior), because I like theoretical stuff.
  • Dalton (Citizen Politics), to indulge my inner comparativist.
  • Glynn et al. (Public Opinion)—maybe.

Sheesh, am I in hock to CQ or what?

[Permalink] 3. Scott wrote @ Mon, 5 Nov 2007, 9:57 am CST:

This is my primary text:

Erikson, Robert S. and Kent L. Tedin. 2005 “American Public Opinion” Seventh
Edition. New York: Longman Publishers.

I’ll probably keep it (or the latest edition thereof).

I also have the following articles/chapters that I’ll keep:

Zaller: “Information, predispositions, and opinion” (chpt. 2 from The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion)

Zaller: “Making it up as you go along” (chpt. 5 from The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion)

Oldendick & Bardes: “How public opinion data are used” (chpt 3 from Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind)

Oldendick & Bardes: “How are opinions measured” (chpt 4 from Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind)

Christopher N. Lawrence: “Sophistication”

Sears & Levy: “Childhood and adult political development” (from Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology)

Lau: “Models of decision making” (from Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology)

Rahn, Aldrich, Borgida, & Sullivan: “A Social-Cognitive Model of Candidate Appraisal” (from Information and Democratic Processes)

Rahn, Aldrich, & Borgida: “Individual and Contextual Variations in Political Candidate Appraisal” (from March 1994 American Political Science Review)

Huffmon: “Revisiting the Role of Information Format in Candidate Evaluation: An ‘Update’ Model of Evaluation” (from 2003 Journal of Political Science)

Masters & Sullivan: “Nonverbal behavior and leadership: Emotion and cognition in political information processing” (chpt. 6 from Explorations in Political Psychology)

Gilens: “Political ignorance and collective policy preferences” (from June 2001 American Political Science Review)

Page & Shapiro: “Opinions about social issues” (chpt. 3 from The Rational Public)

Zaller: “The myth of massive media impact revived: New support for a discredited idea.” (chpt 2 from Political Persuasion and Attitude Change)

Miller & Krosnick: “News media impact on the ingredients of presidential evaluations: A program of research on the priming hypothesis” (chpt 3 from Political Persuasion and Attitude Change)

Kuklinski & Hurley: “It’s a matter of interpretation” (Chpt. 5 from Political Persuasion and Attitude Change)

I am thinking about adding Culture War?.

Have you ever read Governing by Campaigning: The Politics of the Bush Presidency ? Is it worthwhile? What about A Divider, Not a Uniter: George W. Bush and the American People ? Do you know of anything that addresses the Clinton administration for “governing via poll?”


I just got copies of the last two books from Longman but haven’t had much of a chance to look over them yet… I tend to shy away from using texts that have polemical titles, but again that’s a matter of taste.

If you want to update the sophistication reading (diss. chapter), my working paper has a somewhat briefer treatment of the topic, adapted from that chapter, while I think retaining the highlights. Plus there are cool graphs! I’ll probably end up using that version in class since my voting syllabus has a module on sophistication with readings from Niemi and Weisberg already.

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