AP Government Chapter 6 Vocabulary

public opinion

the distribution of the population's beliefs about politics and policy issues


the science of population changes


a valuable tool for understanding demographic changes. (Constitution requires one every 10 years)

melting pot

the mixing of cultures, ideas, and peoples that has changed the American nation. The U.S. with its history of immigration has often been called this.

minority majority

the emergence of non-Caucasian majority, as compared with a white, generally Anglo-Saxon majority

political culture

an overall set of values widely shared within a society

Regional Shift

population shift from East to West


the process of reallocating seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years on the basis of the result of the census

political socialization

the process through which an individual acquires their particular political orientations - their knowledge, feelings, and evaluations regarding their political world


a relatively small proportion of people who are chosen in a survey so as to be representative of the whole

random sampling

the key technique employed by sophisticated survey researchers which operates on the principle that everyone should have an equal probability of being selected for the sample

sampling error

the level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll. The more people interviewed, the more confident one can be of the results.

random-digit dialing

a technique used by pollsters to place telephone calls randomly to both listed and unlisted numbers when conducting a survey

exit poll

public opinion surveys used by minor media pollsters to predict electoral winners with speed and precision

political ideology

a coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose. It helps give meaning to political events, personalities, and policies.

political participation

All the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. (Ex: voting, protest, civil disobedience)


a form of political participation designed to achieve policy change through dramatic and unconventional tactics

civil disobedience

a form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences