Ideology by State

AP Government and Politics

How conservative is your state?

*If you need a definition of liberal or conservative look no further than right here.

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. In what way did the map characterize your state incorrectly?

  3. What most surprised you about this map?

  4. What least surprised you about this map?

  5. What geographical trends do you see in the map?

  6. Some states are very conservative (Alabama) while others are very liberal (Massachusetts). Why do you think that is?

  7. Because Alabama and Massachusetts are very different, what different policies do you think those states have made?

  8. How closely did state ideology correspond to the outcome of the 2016 presidential election?

  9. Overall, would you say that the US is more liberal, conservative, or just plain average? In the comments section, support your contention with one example or reason:

  10. At one point, North Carolina (the best state ever), Virginia (not), and Kansas were reliably conservative states. What do you think has happened to make them more liberal?

  11. One thing that is certain is change. How different do you think this map will look in 20 years?

  12. What state do you think would most like Honey Boo Boo?

  13. In the comments section, explain what would be best and what would be worst about moving to a state that is diametrically ideologically different from your personal beliefs.

  14. Of all the states, which do you think is the most liberal and the most conservative?*

Learning Extension

Check out this article on Gallup's top ten most conservative and liberal states, along with rankings below*:

Action Extension

Research the political party of the US Senators and US House members from your state. Contact any politicians from your state who are out of line with your state's ideology (as shown in the map above) and advise them on how they should vote on one particular issue that would more closely align them with their state's ideology. You can locate your Representative:

U.S. House of Representatives:

U.S. Senate:

Hey, that's Keyboard Cat!

The ________ Branches of Government

AP Government and Politics

What portion of Americans can correctly identify the three branches of government?

  1. How wildly inaccurate was your prediction?

  2. How sad is that information, tho?

  3. If you knew a person who could not name the three branches of government would you let them still be your friend? And what would you think of them?

  4. 1/3 of all the Americans surveyed could not name a single branch. WHAT THE WHAT?

  5. Can you name all three branches?

  6. Can you name all four? (j/k)

  7. If you had to list the top reasons for the results of this survey what would you list as the top three:

  8. What is a consequence of this level of knowledge of the U.S. Government?

  9. If the average Democrat and Republican were shown the information above and asked to comment on it, how different would their responses be?

  10. Is there any connection between this information and the 2016 election? Share your answer to this question in the comments section below!

  11. Do you imagine that Americans were any better at naming the three branches back in the 18th century when George Washington was president?

  12. Is it actually important to know the kind of information that you could look up on any smart phone in about 5 seconds?

  13. How different do you think the results of this survey will be in 20 years?

  14. Who do you think would do better at identifying the three branches of government, Justin Bieber (Canadian), the actor who plays Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) in the Harry Potter Movies (English), PewDiePie (Swedish), or the average 10th grader (American) at your school? Explain your answer.

  15. Why do you think that 1% of the people who took this survey “refused” to answer? were they insulted by how easy the survey was? What does “refused” even mean?

  16. Are you depressed about this? I am. Let's talk. Tell me how you feel:

  17. What are some other important facts about our government that you imagine would also be unknown to many Americans?

  18. Any foreign born American who wants to become a citizen will have to pass a citizenship test where they will have to know the answer to this kind of question. Do you think that this kind of questions should be required for citizenship?

  19. Claim: in order to vote any American citizen should have to prove that they can name the three branches of government and answer other important questions about the U.S. Government. Respond to this claim.

  20. List one consequence of requiring a citizenship style test before people are allowed to vote.

  21. Congratulations, you get to title this chart. What would you name it?

  22. Which of the charts below* is the most depressing?

  23. What percent of statistics are made up on the spot?

Learning Extension

Read the Annenberg Public Policy report on this survey and weep.

Action Extension (do one of the following)

1-Take a mini-practice citizenship test online and share your results in class or online.

2-Ask ten people to name the three branches of government and share your results in class or online.

* Bonus Smarts Charts

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 1.43.23 PM.png
 Okay, Mr. 3% who can name Freedom to petition! Happy now?

Okay, Mr. 3% who can name Freedom to petition! Happy now?



You News, You Lose

How has the way we get our news changed since the 2016 election?

  1. How earth-shatteringly accurate was your prediction?

  2. Identify one trend you see in the data.

  3. What do you think is one cause of that trend?

  4. What is one consequence of that trend?

  5. Explain whether the information from this chart is good or bad news.

  6. What do you think these numbers will look like 10 years from now?

  7. Imagine that you traveled back in time to the year 1918 and told the average person that newspapers (then the totally dominant source - no TV, no radio, definitely no Instagram) would not be a major news source in 100 years. After they complimented you on your super-cool clothes, what do you think they would say to you about your no-newspaper prediction?

  8. 100 years from now, when Kim Kardashian’s great-great-great-grandchild is president, do you think we will even still have websites and social media to get our news?

  9. How do you predict (be creative here) our news will come to us then?

  10. How do you think the rise of social media news impacts American political campaigns and elections?

  11. How do you get your news? Compare your numbers to those of the charts (above and below).*

  12. How does the way we get our news vary by age?*

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read the Pew article on media usage you’ve been hoping to get for Christmas right now!!!!

Action Extension

Use a different source to get news each day of the week. Compare and contrast the accuracy and value of the different sources and share your analysis in class or online. Here’s your schedule: Monday, print; Tuesday, social media, Wednesday, radio; Thursday new website; Friday, television.

Shutdown the wall or the government?

WHat Percent of Americans think that, “President Trump should not compromise on the border wall even if it means a government shutdown.”?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the data tell?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. Describe two consequences of this.

  5. How does party affiliation impact opinion on this issue?

  6. If you had to choose, “President Trump should compromise on the border wall to prevent gridlock,” or, “President Trump should not compromise on the border wall even if it means a government shutdown.” Which would you choose and why?

  7. Respond to this scenario: President Trump personally wants to shut down the government if that’s what it takes to build his wall, but after he reads the poll results above he decides that the people have spoken and he should not build his wall if it risks shutting down the government. Explain whether this action make him more of a trustee or a delegate.

  8. REspond to the following scenario. Trump builds his wall which adds billions of dollars to the national debt. What would a fiscal conservative say about this?

  9. Explain how shutting down the government in order to build the wAll is an example of checks and balances.

  10. What specific Constitutional presidential power allows the president to Build a Border wall?

  11. What specific Constitutional presidential power allows the president to shut down the government?

  12. What specific Constitutional Congressional power allows the congress to fund a Border wall?

  13. What specific Constitutional Congressional power allows the Congress to shut down the government?

  14. President Trump, Vice President Pence, Senate Leader Schumer, and (probable future) Speaker of the House Pelosi met in the White house to discuss the potential border wall funding impasse and government shutdown. At the meeting, Donald trump said, "I'll be the one to shut it down. I will take the mantle. And I will shut it (The Government) down for border security." IF the government is shut down who do you think will be blamed?

  15. Claim: after meeting with donald trump about the government shut down, Nancy Pelosi said, "This Trump shutdown, this temper tantrum he seems to want to throw, will not get him his wall," Based on what you know about American government and politics, explain whether you believe that she is correct.

  16. Describe How political party affiliation impact views on the border wall/government shutdown.

  17. In general, how do Americans think President trump is doing on immigration and border policy?*

  18. In general, how do YOu think President trump is doing on immigration and border policy?

Visual Extension

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Video Extension

Learning Extension

Scroll down to page 9 to read the full results of the poll.

Action Extension

Contact President Trump or (probable) Speaker of the House Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Schumer and let them know your opinion on this issue. Share your results in class or online.

All politics is identity

The biggest predictor of how someone will vote in a congressional election is their political party identification. After that, in congressional elections, what demographic factor best predicts how someone will vote?

  1. How accurate was your amazingly wonderful prediction?

  2. Based on the chart, what is the biggest predictor of voting?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of this?

  5. Is America becoming more or less religious, and how will this impact future elections?

  6. What is the big story the data tell?

  7. Describe in which ways the data from the chart is true for you?

  8. Which demographic feature has the least impact on how people vote?

  9. Is the data in the chart good news?

  10. Claim: when people vote based on their identity (race, ethnicity, gender) they are putting their identity above and before the country as a whole. Respond to the claim above with reason, logic, and facts.

  11. We didn’t collect this kind of data 75 years ago, but if we did, do you think we would have seen the same effects of identity on voting?

  12. Democrats picked up about 40 seats in the 2018 midterm election. How did the data from the chart impact the results of the 2018 midterm elections?

  13. How does the information from the chart impact how political campaigns are run?

  14. How much do you think the rhetoric and policies of Donald Trump impact the data in the chart?

  15. Why didn’t we know how Blacks and women and other minorities voted in, for example, the year 1916*?

*Fun Fact. In the 1916 election, incumbent President Woodrow Wilson defeated Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes by 600,000 votes. FYI: Wilson was the only Democratic incumbent president to win reelection between 1832 and 1936.

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Read The Economist’s analysis of demographics and voting.

Action Extension

Survey your own class and see how much the demographic features outlined in the chart hold true for your class. Share the results in class or online.