AP US Government : Special Interests and Mass Media

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Special Interests And Mass Media

Which of these groups is most likely to be supported by a Political Action Committee (PAC)?

Possible Answers:

Conservative Federal Judges

A religious figure

Incumbents seeking reelection

Liberal Federal Judges

Candidates challenging an incumbent

Correct answer:

Incumbents seeking reelection

Explanation:

Political Action Committees are most likely to support an incumbent seeking reelection. Political Actions Committees are groups set up to ensure the election of one candidate over another.

Example Question #2 : Special Interests And Mass Media

Which of the options listed below is not one of the most prevalent reasons why PACs choose to give money to a particular candidate?

Possible Answers:

The candidate is on a committee which handles matters relevant to the PAC’s concerns

The candidate supports the same issue(s) as the PAC

The candidate is from a region or state where the PAC is also located

The candidate is a new politician and is running against an incumbent candidate

Correct answer:

The candidate is a new politician and is running against an incumbent candidate

Explanation:

PACs give money to political campaigns for a variety of reasons but when faced with an election between an incumbent and a new candidate, PACs time and again overwhelmingly choose to sponsor the incumbent. Statistically speaking, incumbents are more likely to win re-election, even when faced with a seemingly intriguing new opponent. PACs therefore view incumbent candidates as sound investment opportunities– if a PAC’s monetary gift is able to help an incumbent retain their position, then the PAC has automatically gained a friend and potential ally who may later reciprocate by supporting PAC issues.

Example Question #3 : Special Interests And Mass Media

What is a political action committee (PAC)?

Possible Answers:

An organizations that focuses on grassroots/outside lobbying

An organization within a political party that coordinates campaign events

An organization that works to educate voters on policy

An organization that conducts voter registration drives

An organization that solicits campaign contributions and distributes them to political candidates

Correct answer:

An organization that solicits campaign contributions and distributes them to political candidates

Explanation:

Political Action Committees or (PACs) are organizations created to support campaign finance for a candidate.

Example Question #1 : Political Action Committees

Which of these best describes the intended role of Political Action Committees?

Possible Answers:

They encourage effective monitoring of the Judicial process

They serve as institutions to bolster the electoral chances of challenges

They are meant to preserve the power of incumbents and ensure continuous re-election

They raise funds to support their desired candidates

They keep the public informed about abuses of government power

Correct answer:

They raise funds to support their desired candidates

Explanation:

In American elections, Political Action Committees (PACs) are organizations that raise money by collecting campaign contributions and donations. They then use this money to fund the campaign of someone running for office. They can be used to fund either an incumbent or a challenger. They can also be used to fund desired legislation, although this is less common and more of a secondary purpose.

Example Question #1 : Lobbying And Interest Groups

Political interest groups play their largest role in shaping legislation by

Possible Answers:

directly petitioning the executive branch.

staging protests against current law.

persuading voters through the mass media.

arguing before Federal appeals courts.

lobbying members of Congress.

Correct answer:

lobbying members of Congress.

Explanation:

Interest groups have a wide range of processes that are intended to affect the country's laws and policies, depending on what branch of the government and what kind of law the group is trying to change. Regarding the legislative process, their chief activity in effecting change is through lobbying members of Congress to help craft and pass legislation.

Example Question #2 : Lobbying And Interest Groups

Which term describes the practice of legislators retiring from office and quickly taking positions as lobbyists?

Possible Answers:

Logrolling

Gerrymandering

Pork barrel

The iron triangle

The revolving door

Correct answer:

The revolving door

Explanation:

The correct answer is the revolving door. The iron triangle refers to the people who influence the creation of legislation. Gerrymandering involved drawing borders for electoral districts. Pork barrel and logrolling are types of legislative practices that involve trading favors to get the best outcome for one’s constituents.

Example Question #3 : Lobbying And Interest Groups

Which of the following statements about lobbyists is true?

Possible Answers:

There are two essential types of lobbyists: regular and temporary.

Lobbyists chiefly seek to influence the President and Secretary of State.

Lobbyists tend to target those political individuals who seem most firm in their opposition to the group’s goals.

The Lobbying Disclosure Act (1995) requires all interest groups to register only their most financially successful lobbyists with the government.

Correct answer:

There are two essential types of lobbyists: regular and temporary.

Explanation:

There are indeed two main types of lobbyists: those who are regularly paid employees of a particular interest groups and those who are hired on a temporary basis by smaller interest groups or less prominent political figures. Lobbyists most often seek to influence members of Congress, because these politicians, in their roles as legislators, hold the most sway over governmental laws and enacted policies. In keeping with this tendency, lobbyists overwhelmingly tend to approach governmental figures who have already expressed opinions in line with their interest group’s goals– these individuals are the easiest and therefore most beneficial to win over to a group’s side. As per the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, an interest group must register ALL lobbyists in its employ with the Secretary of the Senate and must also report all of each lobbyist’s earnings.

Example Question #4 : Lobbying And Interest Groups

Which of these lobbying groups currently (as per the most recent data) holds the top spot as the nation’s most influential lobby?

Possible Answers:

AFL-CIO

The National Education Association

The National Rifle Association (NRA)

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

Correct answer:

The National Rifle Association (NRA)

Explanation:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is currently ranked as the nation’s most dominant lobby. The NRA enjoys such great influence due to its robust team of lobbyists, armed with ample funds, powerful allies (including government members and celebrities), and the support of a slew of weapons and ammunition manufacturing companies. The group’s prestige is further elevated by its lengthy roster of public supporters, many of whom consider the Second Amendment and its strict defense to be vital to the exercise of their citizenship.

Example Question #5 : Lobbying And Interest Groups

Which of the following is not one of the most prominent types of modern interest groups?

Possible Answers:

Labor groups

Educational groups

Environmental groups

Equality groups

Correct answer:

Educational groups

Explanation:

While educational interests are indeed deemed important by many average Americans and their governmental representatives, education groups have so far failed to successfully scale the narrow and fiercely competitive ladder of interest group prominence. Environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Sierra Club enjoy widespread public support and are zealously promoted by both legislators and favorable legal rulings. Labor groups like the AFL-CIO and business groups sponsored by Google, Microsoft, and the Chamber of Commerce are all immensely influential as well. Additionally, as significant are equality groups, including the NAACP and NOW, which advocate for equal rights and representation for minorities in both the legislative and legal spheres.

Example Question #1 : Lobbying And Interest Groups

Which of the following is the main type of organization that lobbies on behalf of workers?

Possible Answers:

Public interest group

Trade association

Private business

Corporation

Labor union

Correct answer:

Labor union

Explanation:

Labor unions organize and lobby corporations and government to help workers get better wages, safety conditions, benefits, etc... They are often the primary group working to protect worker rights.

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