The relationship between public opinion and political participation raises many questions associated with how the public thinks, why they behave in the manner they do, and what outcomes in the form of ideological expressions will probably take place because of citizens’ behavior in the political scenario. Essentially, “who, what, and where” issues again surface in response to evaluation of political socialization.
Political socialization may be expressed in a singular way, depending on the issue of concern, but it is not derived from any single impact throughout the life of American voters and nonvoters. Qualities and conditions such as gender, race, economic status, education, and religion impact voter behaviors. Indeed, whether or not an individual votes, or takes part in any of the varied available options for participation, is closely allied with the political socialization of individuals and even entire socioeconomic groups.
The Political Compass Web site (http://www.politicalcompass.org) offers a self-test that helps you analyze your personal political views on what the test authors call a “left–right” scale. Take the test and review your results to see where you stand on the economic scale and the social scale. Discuss the results using the following questions:
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- Did your “test result” match what you thought were your political beliefs?
- What is “politically correct” thinking? Give examples of what might be considered “politically correct” and “politically incorrect.”
- To what degree do you think your values and beliefs represent the norms, values, and traditions of society? Define your answer using the following Likert scale—extremely common, common, moderately common, uncommon, and extremely uncommon.