Introduction to politics self evaluation questions

Chapter 1, Politics and Political Science and 2, Ways of Looking at politics

  • What is a model in political science? What are the main purposes of using models? And the possible drawbacks?
  • What is a political system?
  • What were the main features of Behaviorism? Why was it important?
  • What is a normative approach to the study of politics?
  • What is the difference between political science and political theory (or normative approach to politics)?
  • What was Niccolò Machivelli main idea?
  • What was Confucius main idea?
  • What is a social contract?
  • What is, according to Hobbes, the main feature of human life before the social contract?
  • What is the main difference between Locke and Hobbes on this point?
  • What did Rousseau mean by “general will”?
  • What is the role of social classes in the Marxist theory?
  • Which of the following concepts did Machiavelli contribute to the study of politics?
    1. social contract theory
    2. the role of power in politics
    3. the role of wealth in society
    4. the connection between race and politics
  • Which thinker gave us the concept of the social contract?
    1. Locke
    2. Rousseau
    3. Machiavelli
    4. Hobbes
  • Which thinker had a dark view of human nature, believing that humanity without a civil society would be “war of all against all”?
    1. Machiavelli
    2. Hobbes
    3. Locke
    4. Rousseau
  • The Founding Fathers particularly embraced Locke’s idea of the right to __________, which Locke felt was a primary reason why humans created civil society.
    1. freedom of religion
    2. private property
    3. free speech
    4. assembly
  • Some political scientists have inferred totalitarian themes in Rousseau’s idea of __________.
    1. the general will
    2. the social contract
    3. the glory of the state
    4. Marxist revolution
  • Which of the following is one reason why Marx believed the capitalist system would eventually collapse?
    1. Capitalists would completely strip the world of its natural resources.
    2. The bourgeois would rise up in revolution.
    3. A severe economic depression was inevitable.
    4. The global financial system would become too integrated.
  • While the application of Marxism in the Soviet Union was disastrous, Marx’s focus on the role of _________ in politics has been very insightful.
    1. social democracy
    2. the state of nature
    3. social class
    4. the social contract
  • Which of the following thinkers would be most likely to accept an aggressive king?
    1. Hobbes and Machiavelli
    2. Hobbes and Rousseau
    3. Rousseau and Machiavelli
    4. Locke and Machiavelli



Chapter 4, States and Basic Institutions

  • What is the difference between Nation and State?
  • What is a form of state?
  • What is a difference between an absolute monarchy and a constitutional monarchy?
  • What are the main features of an effective state?
  • What are the main differences between effective, weak and failed state?
  • What are the pros and cons of Federalism and centralized unitary systems?
  • What are the main advantages of single district electoral systems?
  • What are the main drawbacks?
  • How do they affect political competition?
  • What are the main advantages and drawbacks of proportional electoral system?
  • How do they affect political competition?
  • What is gerrymandering?
  • What is a threshold clause?
  • Describe the French electoral system. What are the main differences with the proportional and “first past the post systems”?
  • Almost all countries today are republics; this includes constitutional monarchies, due to the fact that royal families in constitutional monarchies __________.
    1. appoint prime ministers
    2. are only figureheads
    3. control the agenda in parliaments
    4. are all deceased
  • A state that is able to control and tax its entire territory would be considered __________.
    1. weak
    2. ineffective
    3. failed
    4. effective
  • Weak states are characterized by __________.
    1. the lack of civilian control over the military
    2. the penetration of crime into politics
    3. an adherence to economics
    4. obedience to laws
  • If you read reports from a particular country that indicate how easily people can bribe police officers, prosecutors, and judges to get themselves out of legal trouble, this would most likely suggest the existence of what kind of state?
    1. failed
    2. weak
    3. effective
    4. unitary
  • Federalism is the balancing of power between a nation’s central government and __________.
    1. the private sector
    2. the people
    3. its autonomous subdivisions
    4. a foreign government
  • Which of the following would highlight a critical downside of a unitary system?
    1. a parliament with very limited control over its national parks and wildlife reserves
    2. the absence of a responsive government when citizens make certain demands
    3. a declining sense of nationalism among elites in society
    4. local officials unable to make basic decisions without the express consent of the central government
  • The components of a federal system are typically represented __________.
    1. in the upper chamber of the national legislature
    2. in the chief executive
    3. by individual political parties
    4. by unelected delegates
  • At the heart of the concept of a federal system is __________.
    1. the nearly absolute lack of government regulation of the economy
    2. the power of central government to dissolve political subunits at any time
    3. the existence of component states with some powers that cannot be easily overridden by the central government
    4. a fusion of the legislative and executive branch functions of government
  • First-past-the-post (FPTP) countries tend to have __________ systems.
    1. corrupt electoral
    2. multiparty
    3. weak judicial
    4. two-party
  • Another way of describing single-member districts with plurality win is to use the phrase __________.
    1. last to finish
    2. first past the post
    3. rule by the majority
    4. voter turnout
  • Gerrymandered electoral districts __________.
    1. make seats “safe” for one party or the other
    2. heighten electoral competition
    3. dramatically increase voter turnout
    4. are illegal in the United States
  • Compared to FPTP, proportional representation means that the country’s legislature more accurately reflects __________.
    1. big business interests
    2. elite demands
    3. public opinion and party strength
    4. the will of larger parties



Chapter 5, Democracy and other regimes

  • What is an illiberal democracy?
  • Define accountability?
  • What is the difference between elitist and pluralist theories?
  • What does the “Iron Law of Oligarchy” argue?
  • What are the main features of totalitarianism?
  • How does it differ from traditional monarchical rule and contemporary authoritarianism?
  • What are the key factors that inhibit the development of a stable democracy?
  • What does modernization theory argue about states such as Brazil, South Korea and Taiwan?
  • What is the relationship between oil and democracy (petrostates)?
  • Which of these can be considered an example of direct democracy?
    1. Citizens voting on a ballot referendum
    2. The media openly criticizing elected officials
    3. Political candidates from different parties running for office
    4. A government holding free and fair elections at regular intervals
  • The main way that democratic governments are held accountable is through __________.
    1. ballot initiatives
    2. civil disobedience
    3. dissident movements
    4. regular electoral challenge
  • media that is critical of its nation’s government is typically indicative of a __________.
    1. healthy economy
    2. high degree of democracy
    3. small amount of inequality
    4. successful one-party regime
  • Which statement explains the claim that “democracy does not always equal freedom”?
    1. Democracies impose burdensome civic obligations on citizens.
    2. Countries with struggling economies often have democratic governments.
    3. Even democratic elections can produce regimes that limit rights and freedoms.
    4. Civic disobedience is a common tactic used to bring change in democratic countries
  • What German thinker argued that any organization, no matter how democratic its intent, ends up run by a small elite?
    1. Thomas Hobbes
    2. Robert Michels
    3. Wright Mills Robert Dahl
  • The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans received the biggest of the Bush administration’s 2001 tax cuts. This fact provides the best support for which of these claims?
    1. Elites are unaccountable to the population as a whole.
    2. The federal government has grown too large and powerful.
    3. Political power tends to benefit those with money and connections.
    4. Economic growth requires reducing tax burdens on wealth creators.
  • What is the main difference between autocratic regimes of the past and twentieth-century totalitarian regimes?
    1. Autocratic regimes prevented citizens from owning firearms, whereas totalitarian regimes preferred to arm the citizenry.
    2. Autocratic regimes allowed more than one political party, whereas totalitarian regimes allowed only one.
    3. Autocratic regimes relied on organized terror to keep citizens obedient, whereas totalitarian regimes relied on official ideology.
    4. Autocratic regimes demobilized their populations, whereas totalitarian regimes demanded mass mobilization and widespread participation by citizens.
  • Which feature of democracy may still exist in an authoritarian regime?
    1. periodic elections
    2. freedom of the press
    3. majority decision making
    4. protection of minority rights
  • Petrostates are able to resist democratization by __________.
    1. providing the nation with the wealth needed to avoid popular discontent
    2. paying foreign mercenaries to employ totalitarian methods of social control
    3. resisting the problem of brain drain experienced by underdeveloped nations
    4. financing a successful propaganda operation to reinforce the official ideology
  • Which of the following represents the greatest threat to a newly formed democracy?
    1. an insufficient supply of oil
    2. a large number of interest groups
    3. a highly unequal distribution of wealth
    4. a sharp increase in the size of the middle class



Chapter 7 Political Culture and Values

  • Define political culture
  • Make two examples of different political cultures.
  • What is the difference between political culture and public opinion
  • Do you agree with the findings of the classic work “The civic culture” (Verba, Almond)?
  • What are the effects of the decline of civic culture?
  • What is the “Protestant Work ethic”?
  • What is the possible influence of Confucianism on political development?
  • What are the main features of political subcultures?
  • What is political socialization?
  • What are the main agents of political socialization?
  • Studies of __________ look for basic, general values regarding politics and government.
    1. political theory
    2. political culture
    3. public opinion
    4. political radicalization
  • For centuries Spain was split by __________, creating “Two Spains.”
    1. agrarian and industrial culture
    2. southern and northern coasts
    3. small-town and big-city
    4. region and religiosity
  • Which of the following is a minority subculture?
    1. Hindus in India
    2. Caucasians in America
    3. The Han in China
    4. Quebecois in Canada
  • A subculture can be expected to have __________ than the mainstream culture around it.
    1. different voting habits
    2. more liberal political views
    3. less education
    4. stronger religious views
  • Governments often engage in overt socialization through __________.
    1. families
    2. education
    3. peer groups
    4. international organizations



Chapter 8 Public Opinion and Polling

  • What is the relationship between public opinion and knowledge?
  • What is “salience”?
  • Sometimes working class people tends to be more rightist (conservative) and middle upper class people. How is it possible?
  • What is the effect of education and religion on political preferences?
  • What is a centre-periphery tension? Can you make an example?
  • What does the theory of life cycle say?
  • What is a political generation?
  • What is the gender gap?
  • What is a unimodal curve? Why is it important for democracy?
  • How can you explain the presence of bimodal distribution on key political issues?
  • What is the difference between independent and dependent variable?
  • What is a Presidential rating?
  • What is intensity of preferences? How does it related to groups such as the NRA or the Jewish community in the US?
  • What are the main dangers related to the excessive reliance on opinion polls by a government?
  • Which statement explains why public opinion is an important consideration for both democratic and authoritarian governments?
    1. Public opinion provides leaders with smart policy ideas.
    2. Manipulating public opinion is necessary to maintain social control.
    3. Every society needs to have uniformity of public opinion to remain strong.
    4. Strong public dissent can lead to an electoral defeat or the collapse of the regime.
  • What does public opinion polling provide that election results cannot?
    1. the popularity of specific candidates
    2. insight into citizens’ views on specific issues
    3. a clear indication which political party is dominant
    4. information about candidates’ real views on the issues.
  • Which of the following lends support to the political generations theory of public opinion?
    1. Young voters went strongly to Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections.
    2. Younger people are better educated about political issues than older people.
    3. Older people are better informed about political issues than younger people.
    4. Many people who lived through the Great Depression are life-long supporters of welfare programs.
  • Which type of distribution curve is the most dangerous for a democracy?
    1. bell-shaped
    2. bimodal
    3. rightward-skewed
    4. unimodal
  • In the United States, a liberal would likely support __________, while a conservative would likely support __________.
    1. increasing the minimum wage; banning same-sex marriage
    2. increasing the minimum wage; banning prayer in schools
    3. increasing military spending; banning lifetime limits on health insurance coverage
    4. increasing military spending; banning unlimited campaign donations



Ch 9 Politics, the Media and Political Communication

  • What is the difference between elite media and popular media?
  • What is investigative journalism?
  • What are the consequences of social media for politics?
  • What is the bounce back effect?
  • What was the role of social media in recent US elections?
  • How do contemporary authoritarian regime use modern propaganda tools?
  • How did television change political communication?
  • What is framing?
  • How does the political partisanship and the ownership of the media changes political communication?
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt won popular support for his policies through __________.
    1. weekly radio addresses
    2. televised debate victories
    3. backroom power brokering
    4. numerous personal appearances
  • What is the relationship between education and media consumption?
    1. Education is largely uncorrelated with media consumption.
    2. The more educated individuals are, the more media they tend to consume.
    3. The more educated individuals are, the less likely they are to read newspapers.
    4. Education tends to make people skeptical of getting information from the mass media.



Chapter 10 Pluralism and Interests groups

  • What is an interest group? What is its purpose?
  • Name different types of interest groups, according to goals and membership
  • What is a single issue group? What is the difference with other groups?
  • What is the role of trade unions?
  • What are the main strategies an interest group?
  • What is Mancur Olson’s main idea about organized groups in “the Logic of Collective Action”?
  • Interest groups in the United States tend to over-represent __________.
    1. business interests
    2. social welfare causes
    3. specialized labor groups
    4. non-profit organizations
  • Political parties differ from interest groups because parties __________.
    1. are less responsive to public opinion
    2. must win elections to influence policy
    3. influence policy outside of the electoral process
    4. rely only on public money to finance their activities
  • Rousseau influenced French attitudes toward pluralism by arguing that __________.
    1. interest groups were vital to a strong civil society
    2. the general will was more important than particular wills
    3. individual freedom was more important than the collective welfare
    4. a decentralized state promoted liberty more effectively than a centralized one
  • What are two reasons that elections are so much more expensive in the United States than in Western Europe?
    1. constitutional protections and the size of the U.S. population
    2. bureaucratic inefficiency and the strength of special interest groups
    3. the size of U.S. territory and the strength of the federal government
    4. the weakness of American political parties and the decentralized nomination process
  • According to Olson, small, well-organized groups often override the broader public interest because they __________.
    1. have much to gain from favorable but narrow laws and rulings, so they lobby intensely
    2. have an easier time attracting wealthy donors, so they are better-funded than other groups
    3. know that their interests are not well understood, so they spend a lot of money on advertising
    4. understand how to manipulate public opinion better, so they influence politicians more than other groups
  • Which is a major shortcoming of a government that is heavily influenced by interest groups?
    1. Minority rights will receive more attention than the broader public good.
    2. Public policy will be skewed toward the groups that have the largest membership.
    3. Political parties will become irrelevant because of greater public support for interest groups.
    4. Many people do not have the resources to organize into a group that can influence the government.



Chapter 11 Political Parties

  • What are the main functions of political parties?
  • Describe examples of aggregation of interests in a European context
  • Define party socialization
  • Define party identification
  • What is a “relevant party”?
  • Describe the differences between Duverger’s Three types of political parties
  • What is a catch all party?
  • What is a party system?
  • Describe the main features of a one party/ two party/ dominant party/ multiparty system
  • What is the relationship between party system and electoral system?
  • Which statement explains why Sweden has a higher voter turnout rate than the United States?
    1. Sweden has stronger and better-organized political parties.
    2. Sweden has rules that make it easier for individuals to join a political party.
    3. Parties in the United States use less political propaganda than parties in Sweden.
    4. The United States has mass parties rather than the devotee parties Sweden has.
  • In most democratic countries, major parties attempt to be _________ in order to win a large number of votes
    1. catchall parties
    2. highly ideological
    3. sympathetic to the poor
    4. coalitions of minor parties
  • A politician who makes explosive anti-immigrant comments would most likely be part of a party that is _________.
    1. far left
    2. far right
    3. left-leaning centrist
    4. right-leaning centrist
  • States with a competitive party system tend to __________ than other states.
    1. be less corrupt
    2. be more remote from the public
    3. have less interest-group influence
    4. have a stronger ideological focus



Chapter 12 Elections and Voting

  • Make an example of class voting in Europe
  • Make an example of regional voting in Europe
  • What are the main variable that might influence peoples’ vote. List at least five
  • What is an electoral realignment? Does it make sense to talk about it in countries different from the US?
  • What is partisan polarization?
  • What is retrospective voting?
  • What is a constituency?
  • What is the relationship between constituency and elected representatives in proportional system? And in a First past the post system?
  • People with more __________ and higher __________ are more likely to vote and participate in politics.
    1. rural lifestyles; skepticism
    2. education; church attendance
    3. personal debt; IQs
    4. education; incomes
  • How does education affect the likelihood that people will vote?
    1. Education makes people feel more cynical, which makes them more likely to reject mainstream political news and less likely to vote.
    2. Education increases abstract intellectual curiosity, which makes people more likely to vote for fringe political parties and candidates.
    3. Education often leads to high levels of student loan debt, which makes people poorer and less likely to vote.
    4. Education increases the sense of participation, which makes people more likely to follow political news and more likely to vote
  • People who live __________ tend to embrace conservative values and vote for conservative parties.
    1. in large cities
    2. in rural area
    3. with unmarried partners
    4. near major universities
  • Which of the following is a consequence of the Electoral College?
    1. A candidate cannot win the presidency without winning the national popular vote.
    2. It is especially important for candidates to win states with large populations, because they have more Electoral College delegates.
    3. Voters in California have less influence on the outcome of a presidential election than voters in Vermont.
    4. Third-party candidates usually have an advantage.
  • What phenomenon partly explains Johnson’s victory in 1964, Nixon’s victory in 1972, and Reagan’s victory in 1984?
    1. voters rewarding the incumbent’s party when they think the government in general is doing a good job
    2. voters rewarding the challenger’s party when they think the government in general is doing a bad job
    3. voters punishing the incumbent’s party when they think the government in general is doing a bad job
    4. voters generally flip-flopping between parties to show their dissatisfaction with the two-party system



Chapter 13 Parliaments

  • What is the origin of modern Parliaments?
  • What is the difference between Presidential and Parliamentary systems?
  • What is the difference between Semi-Presidential and Parliamentary systems?
  • What is the divided government in the US?
  • What is a vote of no confidence?
  • What is a confidence vote? What is the difference with a “no confidence”?
  • What is a minority government?
  • Why is the German Budesrat is similar to the US Senate?
  • Why are committees important?
  • Parliaments have the “power of the purse”. What does it mean?
  • What is the practice of “pork barrel”?
  • Why does it happen more in combination with majoritarian electoral systems?
  • What are the causes of the “decline of Parliaments hypothesis”?
  • What are the advantages of the incumbency? (in which electoral system they are higher?)
  • By the seventeenth century, the British Parliament considered itself supreme in the area of __________.
    1. taxation
    2. warfare
    3. social welfare policy
    4. constitutional doctrine
  • In a parliamentary system, the cabinet changes __________.
    1. every four to six years
    2. every two to four years
    3. whenever a new prime minister is chosen
    4. when the majority party loses an election or a no-confidence vote
  • In a parliamentary system, voters directly elect __________.
    1. the prime minister only
    2. members of parliament only
    3. members of parliament and the prime minister
    4. members of parliament and the ministerial cabinet
  • Which statement describes how the executive relates to the legislature in a parliamentary system?
    1. The executive is appointed by the legislature.
    2. The executive is almost entirely subservient to the legislature.
    3. The executive is almost entirely independent of the legislature.
    4. The executive is largely irrelevant to the activities of the legislature.
  • What is the main idea behind “pork barrel” politics?
    1. Legislators seek to spend government money in their home district to help ensure reelection.
    2. Legislators who spend an inordinate amount of the taxpayers’ money will most likely lose the next election.
    3. The law-making process is less corrupt when representatives can secure limited benefits for their constituents.
    4. Interest groups from agricultural areas have greater influence in upper houses of legislatures than in lower houses.



Chapter 14 Governments

  • What is the difference between a head of state and a head of government?
  • Who is the head of state in the Italian system? And in the British system? And in the US system?
  • Who is the head of government in the Italian system? And in the British system? And in the US system?
  • What is the constructive vote of no confidence in Germany?
  • What is the cohabitation in France?
  • What are the main features of an efficient bureaucracy?
  • What are the advantages of having a bureaucracy?
  • What are the main possible problems with bureaucracy?
  • What are the main findings of the bureaucratic politics model?
  • In the United States, the president is both chief of government and __________.
    1. chancellor
    2. head of state
    3. secretary of state
    4. speaker of the house
  • In the German parliamentary system, what is the main purpose of a constructive vote of no confidence?
    1. to increase the stability of Germany government
    2. to ensure that the minority always has a say in German policy
    3. to keep the German Chancellor directly accountable to the people
    4. to bolster the strength of the opposition when negotiating with the government
  • What was the main purpose of the cohabitation arrangement between the executive and legislative branches in France’s parliamentary system?
    1. to reduce the likelihood of corruption among high officials
    2. to minimize conflict between the two houses of the legislature
    3. to enable the president to check the power of the legislature over domestic policy
    4. to enable a president and a prime minister from different parties to govern together
  • Which statement explains why parliamentary systems have an advantage over presidential systems should a person of dubious character win executive power?
    1. A president can never be removed from office before his term expires.
    2. A president is very difficult to remove before his term of office expires.
    3. A president has direct control over the salaries of both bureaucrats and legislators.
    4. A president loses his position if his party does not hold a majority in the legislature.
  • How does the process a parliamentary system uses to oust a chief executive differ from that available in the United States?
    1. The prime minister can dissolve parliament rather than resigning from office.
    2. Parliamentary systems rely on the political system instead of the legal system.
    3. Parliamentary systems use a national referendum rather than the electoral college.
    4. Parliamentary systems can hold a vote of no confidence instead of using the impeachment process.



Chapter 16 Revolutions

  • What is the likely correlation between demography and revolution?
  • What is the difference between a coup and a revolution?
  • What is the difference between a riot and a revolution?
  • What is the relationship between rising expectations and revolution?
  • Explain the four stages of a revolution
  • Political breakdown creates the conditions necessary for a small group of people, often __________, to take over and create a __________.
    1. the political elite; police state
    2. the merchant class; new capitalist democracy
    3. the military; dictatorship
    4. the working class; Marxist revolution
  • Which of the following would you expect to see in a nation with a highly legitimate government?
    1. high rates of street violence
    2. politically powerful police unions
    3. low numbers of police officers
    4. high levels of police brutality to keep citizens in line
  • Today, much revolutionary violence is __________ rather than Marxist.
    1. fascist
    2. Islamist
    3. communist
    4. capitalist
  • Why can economic growth cause political upheaval in a developing society?
    1. Once people see that improvement is possible, they become bitter at their relative deprivation.
    2. The newly rich resist the tax hikes needed for continued development.
    3. The very poor typically organize a Marxist revolution.
    4. The new middle class begins to demand a comprehensive welfare state.
  • What is sociologist Theda Skocpol’s theory on revolutions?
    1. Revolutions are usually caused by widespread inequality and hardship.
    2. Revolutions primarily bubble up from below.
    3. Successful revolutions happen when the government stops even pretending to consider public opinion in its decision making.
    4. Successful revolutions happen when the government is caught in a situation it cannot manage.
  • Which of the following would confirm that a genuine revolution has taken place?
    1. The regime itself claims it is going through a revolution.
    2. The old elites are replaced by new elites.
    3. The regime is unable to control enormous street protests and riots.
    4. The state media declare a revolution has taken place.
  • According to Crane Briton, what happens during the Thermidor stage of revolution?
    1. Extremists take over.
    2. Moderates and extremists form parallel governments.
    3. The people become exhausted from the revolution and prefer stability.
    4. The government calls in troops.
  • What is the crux of radical revolutionary thinking?
    1. an economic plan to back up political idealism
    2. the belief that it is possible to remake society
    3. the belief that violence is an end in itself
    4. the willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good
  • Which of the following options best describes countries before and after revolutions?
    1. Before: Revolutionary movements are still idealistic and leaders are convinced they will bring about a better society.
    2. After: The pressure of leading a country leads to disagreements in the top leadership, and the revolutionary regime fractures.
    3. Before: Revolutionary movements are still idealistic and leaders are convinced they will bring about a better society.
    4. The revolutionary regime discovers it is a lot harder to make an economy work than it thought.
    5. Before: Revolutionary movements believe that the people will continue to support the revolutionary leaders after the old regime has been toppled
    6. After: The revolutionary regime discovers that public opinion is fickle, and that people expect fast and constant improvement.
    7. Before: Revolutionary movements bomb and assassinate in an effort to overthrow corrupt governments.
    8. After: The revolutionary regime almost always finds itself being bombed and in the sights of assassins.

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