Ideology by State

AP Government and Politics

What Ideology 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: www.house.gov

U.S. Senate: www.senate.gov

Ideology by Congressional District

Hey, that's Keyboard Cat!

Build a Candidate

AP US Government and Politics

According to polls, which of the following traits would be the biggest liability for a US presidential candidate: past marijuana use, being gay or lesbian, Mormon, Muslim, or atheist?

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising was the information in the chart?

  3. How will this information be different for the 2028 election?

  4. Explain whether this information is good news.

  5. Consider all the traits in the chart and evaluate whether each trait would make your vote for a candidate more likely, less likely, or wouldn't matter:

  6. How different was your evaluation of presidential traits from that of the average American's?

  7. What questions do you have about the chart?

  8. The 2016 election was certainly a surprise for a lot of people. How much did the outcome of the 2016 election deviate from what your would expect based on the data in the chart?

  9. How much do you think that the election of Donald Trump (outsider, non-religious, had financial troubles, had affairs, etc.) will impact  the type of future Democratic or Republican candidates who run for office?

  10. List two generalizations you can make about American presidential trait preferences from the information in the chart:

  11. Do you think that the fact that presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is a homosexual will hurt his chances to be president more than the fact that he is only 37?

  12. In the comments section, using the information from the chart, create an extremely unelectable presidential candidate:

Visual Extension

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Action Extension

Do one of the following:

  1. Contact the Democratic National Party or the Republican National Party and give them five pieces of advice on nominating a presidential candidate based on the information in the chart:

  2. Write a letter to the American people telling them what they are wrong about regarding their desired traits for presidential candidates. Post it on social media or send it to your local newspaper (if you still have one).

  3. Make a poster or flyer or video advertisement for the unelectable presidential candidate you created in question 9 above.

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew report on presidential candidate traits.

Our World In Data Extension

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Our Animals in Drag Extension

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McDonald's

In the continental US, what's the farthest you can be from a McDonald's?

Answer: 107 miles. Between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley lies the McFarthest Spot: 107 miles distant from the nearest McDonald's, as the crow flies.

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this map tells?

  3. Is the fact that there are so many McDonald's good news or bad news?

  4. Explain why, in the US, you can never be more that 100 miles from a Micky D's?

  5. What is the consequence of the ubiquity of McDonald's?

  6. McDonald's is a potent symbol of globalization. Can you think of any better known or more global symbol than McDonald's?

  7. What would this map have looked like in 1950, and what do you think it will look like in 2040?

  8. Is there anything more American than McDonald's?

  9. Is there any US restaurant/store there are more of than McDonald's?

  10. In the comments section below, advise the residents of Meadow, North Dakota whether a McDonald's would be good for their hamlet.


Action Extension

Look at a Google Maps of your community and type in McDonald's. How far could you drive around before you ran into the nearest McDonald's? Without speeding or breaking any laws, see how many McDonald's you can drive to in 30 minutes. 


Learning Extension

Watch 7 minutes of Super Size Me.

No Vacation Nation

AP US Government and Politics

How many paid holidays and vacation days does the U.S. government mandate by law?

CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What was most surprising about this information?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think the US has such a low level of vacation time compared to all other wealthy nations?

  5. What is one consequence of not having any mandated paid vacation time?

  6. Overall, is this good or bad news?

  7. What about U.S. history or the U.S. political system help explain why we are so different in terms of time off from the rest of the wealthy world?

  8. If workers get paid time off, who pays for it?

  9. Do you consider countries like Norway, Germany, or Sweden, all which get over 25 paid days off a year, to be lazy or economically weak countries?

  10. What questions do you have about this chart and information?

  11. Describe the different ways liberals and  conservatives might react to this chart:

  12. In the comments section, Based on paid vacation time, explain which country from this list would you most like to live in:


Learning Extension

You can read the entire report on our non-vacation nation from the Center for Economic and Policy Research


Action Extension

Contact your congressional representative and let them know what you think about the fact that the U.S. is the only economically advanced nation that gets 0 paid vacation time.


Bonus Chart For Absolutely No Good Reason

AP US Government and Politics

State of the State of the Union Address 2019

What has happened to the average number of viewers of the State of the Union Address over the past four presidents?

Infographic: TV Crowds Watching State of the Union Addresses | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista
  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Describe the trend in State of the Union viewership over the past four presidents from the chart?

  3. What best explains this trend?

  4. Describe one consequence of this trend upon American politics.

  5. What tends to happen to State of the Union viewership during each president’s term?

  6. Do you have any reason to think that Trump will reverse this trend?

  7. Claim: When I was a kid, no matter the party of the president, my family almost always watched the State of the Union address. Today, because of extreme partisanship, mostly partisans of the president watch the SOTU Address (Republicans watch Republican Presidents, Democrats watch Democratic Presidents) and the middle (independents) is tuning out (see chart below)*. Is that good for democracy?

  8. What does the U.S. Constitution actually say about State of the Union Address?

  9. Last month, Nancy Pelosi barred Trump from giving his SOTU Address on the usual date. What Constitutional Power allowed her to do that?

  10. How different would the impact of the SOTU be if it were delivered by paper instead of live on TV?

  11. How much does the SOTU actually impact public opinion or public policy?

  12. Would it be a good idea if Trump gave his SOTU by Tweet?

  13. In the future, how do you think Presidents will deliver their addresses?

  14. Claim: The State of the Union is purely ornamental and should be abolished. Respond to this claim.

  15. Were SOTU Addresses longer in the earliest days of the Republic or in the latest? (see chart below)*

  16. In recent years, there has always been a designated survivor (member of the cabinet who would succeed the president in case of his death) who is removed from the SOTU and taken to a safe and undisclosed location in case of catastrophe. Would you want to be this person?

  17. Who was this person in 2019?

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Learning Extension

Read this FiveThirtyEight story, 3 Reasons That State of the Union Speeches don’t Matter.

Action Extension

Write your own State of the Union ATweet (summarize the state of the union in 280 characters or less) and share it on in class or on Twitter.

Our World In Data Extension

Let's Party But Not Together

AP US Government and Politics

What is the one thing that both Democrats and Republicans hate the most?

The Economist   AP US Government and Politics

The Economist

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What do both parties like the most?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells about American political culture?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. People talk a lot about the great divide in American politics and culture. What does this chart have to say about the divide?

  6. What is a social consequence of that divide?

  7. What is a political consequence of that divide?

  8. Based on this chart, explain whether you think a nurse could win the presidency?

  9. What was the most surprising fact from this data?

  10. What was the least surprising fact from this data?

  11. How do you feel about the items on this chart. Rank each item as good or bad and see how you match up with Republican and Democratic opinions.

  12. What does the fact that both parties hate congress tell you about the 2018 midterm elections?

  13. How different do you think this chart would have been 50 years ago?

  14. In the future, do you think we will continue to be more and more divided?

  15. What are three factors contributing to this division?

  16. Do you think we could ever have a universally popular president again?

  17. What do you think the Framers would have thought about this?

  18. Is there anything inherent in the US constitution that explains this political division?

Learning Extension

Watch this 60 second video about the growing partisan divide in Congress.

Action Extension

List any 10 of the preferences from this chart (Mitt Romney, nurses, poor people, environmentalists, etc) Ask five Republicans (conservatives) to rank those then things from best to worst. Ask five Democrats (liberals) to do the same. See if there is any overlap on those lists. Share your results in class or online. If you are having trouble finding five people of each party (ideology) that may tell you all you need to know about division in America.

Partisanship and Pop-Culture Extension

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Completely Off Topic But Interesting Sports Chart Extension

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Completely Patriotic Animal Extension

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Frenemies

If you are a Democrat or Republican, how many friends do you have in the other party?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Is this good news?

  3. What story does this data tell?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is on consequence of this?

  6. How different do you think these numbers would have looked 20 years ago?

  7. How different do you think these numbers will look in 20 years?

  8. Do you know anyone who has a wide range of friends from both parties?

  9. Do you think that the Donald Trump presidency will reinforced the data from the chart?

  10. What sorts of people are friends with independents????

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Learning Extension

Read the Pew Article on partisanship.

Action Extension

Survey 10 people you know and find out how their partisan friendships compare to the data in the chart. Share and explain your data in class or online.

Trumping the Courts

Relative to recent presidents, how much impact has President Trump had on the federal judiciary?

  1. Describe One trend from the infographic.

  2. What is the primary cause of this Trend?

  3. Explain the impact of this trend on U.S. politics.

  4. What about the current political makeup of the U.S. House and Senate has allowed the president to make such an impact on the courts?

  5. Explain whether this information is good or bad news:

  6. Although the 22nd Amendment limits the President to two terms of office, some would say that a president serves for life - not only his life, but the life of his judicial appointments. Explain whether you agree or disagree with this statement:

  7. In regards to specific policy, describe two ways a Trump-nominated judge might differ from an Obama-nominated judge?

  8. Besides ideology, in what ways do you imagine Trump judicial picks differ from Obama judicial picks?

  9. This infographic shows appointments to the federal appeals court. Describe the relationship  between U.S. appellate courts, U.S. district courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

  10. Imagine that the Democratic Party had great success in the 2018 midterm elections and took control of the US House. Describe how that would impact Trump's success in the confirmation of judicial appointments?

  11. If you were a Democratic strategist concerned with stopping Trump's impact on the judiciary,  would you prefer for your party to control the US House or the US Senate?

  12. Describe how this is an example of checks and balances?

Learning Extension

Read more about the impact the president is having on the US federal judiciary,

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Action Extension

Check out the American Constitution Society's interactive map to find out about current judicial nominees in your state then contact your US Senator and share your opinion about the confirmation of current judicial nominees.

Video Extension

It's never too early for the Supreme Court with Dogs!

The American Dream

What portion of Americans answered the following question about the American Dream, yes? "Do you think it is possible to start our poor in this country, work hard and become rich?"

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Do you think it is possible to start out poor in this country, work hard and become rich?

  3. In what way is the information from this poll surprising?

  4. What has happened to the American public's faith in the American Dream?

  5. Why do you think Americans have less faith in the American Dream than they once did?

  6. What is one consequence of this change?

  7. What questions do you have about this chart?

  8. Is this good news or bad news?

  9. Explain what you think this chart will look in 30 years:

  10. Explain any connection between our most recent election and the American Dream.

  11. In what way do you think a Clinton and Trump supporter would disagree about the American Dream?

  12. In what way would they agree?

  13. Do you think there's anything the US government can do to make people believe in the American Dream again?

  14. In the comments section, tell us what you would say to an immigrant thinking about moving to America to pursue the American Dream?


Action Extension

Survey ten people, in person or on the internet, and ask the the same question about the American Dream, as asked in the NYTimes Poll above. Tally your scores, along with an explanation for any differences between your survey and the NYTimes Survey, and share your answers with class or online.


Learning Extension

Check out the bonus chart below:

Is America getting Better?

How do you think most Americans answer the following: Since the 1950s, do you think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this information?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. Explain your answer to the following: Since the 1950s, do you think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse?

  6. Why do you think non-Christians and White Evangelical Protestants have such different answers to this question?

  7. Is the information in this chart good news or bad?

  8. How do you think your background (race, religion, immigration status) affects your answer to this question?

  9. How do you think the answer to this question affected how individuals voted in the 2016 election?

  10. And how will that affect policies under the current Trump administration?


Learning Extension

Browse through this and other charts from the 2016 PRRI/Brookings Report on immigration.


Action Extension

Ask the following question to ten people and record their answer. Since the 1950s, do you think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse?

Note the race and religious affiliation of each respondent and then share the information with the class.