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Exam Questions for Midterm II by 7G13Xd36


									                      Exam Questions for Midterm II

The final will consist of three identifications (roughly 30% of grade), an
essay question drawn from the list below (roughly 30%) and several
questions on current events (roughly 40%).

For the identification section of the exam you will need to define a term and
explain its significance for the course.

The essay questions can all be answered adequately in three blue book
pages, but you may choose to write more if you wish.

Each current event question on the final will include a space limit (“one
sentence” or “one paragraph” or “two blue-book pages”). A few of the
current events questions will simply ask you for factual information, but for
most of the questions you will be asked to use course concepts to analyze
recent news events.


Crafted Talk
Phantom Public
Random Sample
Random Error
Margin of Error
Confidence Level
Retrospective Voting
Candidate Quality (as in “High Quality Candidate”)
Game Schema
Governing Schema
New Deal Coalition
"Social Welfare" Issue Dimension
"Cultural" Issue Dimension
The “Solid South”
Gender Gap
Candidate Insurance
Civil Service Reform
Responsible Party Model
Bowling Alone
Social Capital
Fellowship Federations
Free Riders

Short Essays

You will be asked one of the following questions on the final exam. An
excellent answer could take only three blue book pages, but if you are
feeling less succinct you may write as long as you wish.

1. President Bush announces in a press conference: "In a recent poll, 52% of
the American people said they favored liberating the people of Darfur in
Sudan from the mass slaughter that is occurring there. Where the American
people have spoken so clearly, I as their servant must obey. Therefore to
ensure civil peace and an end to violence in the Sudan, I am sending 20,000
troops to that beleaguered nation." Leaving aside the wisdom of President
Bush's policy in Darfur, what problems in polling might he have overlooked
in relying so heavily on this polling result?

2. A Democratic Party activist analyzes the upcoming 2008 congressional
elections thusly:

    Global warming is a disastrous issue for the Republican Party--and it’s
    the reason Democrats will gain a majority in both the House and Senate
    in 2009. More and more Americans are becoming aware of the dire
    threat of global warning, and they see that the Republican Party has
    been stalling on the issue. If the Democrats win, as I expect, it will
    prove conclusively that the majority of Americans reject the Republican
    approach, and support Democratic proposals to curb greenhouse gases.
How might a political scientist's analysis of the effect of the global warming
issue on the 2008 elections differ from this activist's? Specifically, how
might a political scientist, using the concepts of "heuristics," “candidate
quality,” and “casework,” respond to the claim that voters predominantly
vote based on issues such as global warming in congressional elections?
(What assumptions does such a claim make about voters' knowledge of and
engagement with politics?)

3. The New Deal Coalition was dominant in American politics from 1932
to 1994, yet is now in disarray. First discuss the basis for the Democratic
New Deal Coalition. What social groups were part of it? What issues
attracted them to the Democrats? Second, explain the major factors that led
to its collapse.

4. What are the sources of the gender gap in voting? On what issues do men
and women differ? Why, according to Kaufman, did the gap narrow in
2004? (On what bases does Kaufman discount the "security moms" theory of
the diminished gender gap?)

5. Consider the following analysis of the future of racial politics in the
United States:

     Soon the United States will become a "majority-minority" society, and
     the consequence of this for American politics is clear: The Democrats
     will once again be the dominant party. Racial minorities have always
     favored the Democrats, so it is only a matter of time before they form a
     grand coalition that will propel the Democrats to victory and the
     Republicans (stuck with a declining white population) to permanent
     second-class status.

Drawing on course materials (Sanjek, Omi, Schrag), how might one question
this analysis? What assumptions does it make about "race" and racial
alignments? Briefly (no more than a paragraph), what is your prediction
about the future of racial politics in the United States?

6. What are the elements of the responsible party model? How does the
American party system differ from the model? In what respects has it
arguably moved toward this model in recent years? (You should consider
Sundquist, Bartels, Poole and the lectures on parties in your answer.)
7. Median voter theory predicts that parties would tend to move in the
direction of the median voter, yet as Poole shows, in Congress the two
parties have moved further away from the median over the past 30 years.
Using the readings in the course, what possible explanations would you
advance for this outcome? (In your answer you should consider the articles
on the decline of the New Deal Coalition, and Poole’s articles on

Current Events

Below is a list of course concepts that I might ask you to use to analyze
current events. To prepare for the exam, you should have a good grasp of
these concepts—and make sure you are up on recent developments in
American politics by reviewing “Pendleton Pundits.”

Concepts After First Midterm

Margin of Error/Confidence Level/Random Error
Crafted Talk
Game Schema
Governing Schema
New Deal Coalition
Gender Gap
Social Welfare/Cultural Issue Dimensions
Strong/Responsible Party System
Weak Party System
Dimensions of Party Strength (PO, PIG, PIE)
Free Riders
Social Capital
Skocpol's "Transformation of Civic Life"

Cumulative Concepts

Four Visions of Democracy
Separation of Powers
Proportional versus "First-Past-The-Post" Elections

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