party activists: People who ring doorbells or serve as delegates to political conventions. They perform the day-to-day, grass-roots work of politics.

party identification: Attachment to one political party by a voter.

Pentagon Papers: A forty-seven volume study of the Vietnam war compiled by the Defense Department and leaked to the press by a former Pentagon official in 1971.

periodic registration: A system of voter registration in which the voter must register every year or at other stated intervals.

permanent registration: A system of voter registration in which the voter registers only once in his or her district.

planning-programming budgeting system (PPBS): A management tool that required federal departments to define their goals precisely and measure the costs and benefits of alternative programs to achieve those goals.

plea bargaining: A bargain in which a defendant in a criminal case agrees to plead guilty to a less serious charge than might be proven at a trial. In return, the prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges or recommend leniency.

plum book: A listing of the non-civil service jobs that an incoming president may fill.

pluralism: A system in which many conflicting groups within the community have access to government officials and compete with one another in an effort to influence policy decisions.

pocket veto: A power of the President to kill a bill by taking no action (if Congress adjourns at the end of a second session during the ten-day period after the President receives the bill).

policy: A course of action decided upon by a government - or by any organization, group or individual - that usually involves a choice among competing alternatives.

political action committees (PACs): Independent organizations, but more often the political arms of corporations, labor unions, or interest groups, established to contribute to candidates or to work for general political goals.

political opinion: Opinions on political issues, such as a choice among candidates or parties.

political participation: The involvement of citizens in the political process of a nation.

political party, major: A broadly based coalition that attempts to gain control of the government by winning elections, in order to exercise power and reward its members.

political socialization: The process through which an individual acquires a set of political attitudes and forms opinions about social issues.

poll tax: A tax on voting repealed by the Twenty-fourth Amendment in 1964, long used by Southern states to keep blacks (and, in some cases, poor whites) from participating in elections.

power: The possession of control over others.

power structure: A term popularized by sociologist Floyd Hunter to describe the community leaders who determined policy in Atlanta, Georgia. More broadly, the term is used to describe �power elites� generally.

precedent: An earlier court case that serves as a justification for a decision in a later case. Also known as stare decisis.

presidential primary: Method used by more than two-thirds of the states in which voters in one or both parties express their preference for a presidential nominee and choose all or some convention delegates.

press secretary, presidential: The White House official who speaks for the President in day-to-day meetings with the news media.

primary group: A group that a person comes into face-to-face contact with in everyday life; for example, friends, office associates, or a local social club.

prior restraint: The censoring of printed material by the government prior to publication.

proportional representation: A system of multimember election districts that encourages the existence of many parties by allotting legislative seats to competing parties according to the percentage of votes that they win.

Proposition 13: A constitutional amendment approved by California voters in 1978 that limited real estate taxes in the state to one percent of previous property values.

proprietary colonies: Colonies in which the proprietors (who had obtained their patents from the king) named the governors, subject to the king�s approval.

psychological method: An approach in studying how voters decide that attempts to find out what is going on inside the minds of the voters and to measure their perceptions of parties, candidates, and issues.

public administration: The term preferred by political scientists to describe the bureaucratic process - the business of making a government work.

public assistance: A welfare program that distributes public funds to people who are poor.

public interest law firms: Law firms, often staffed by young lawyers, that represent consumers, minorities, and the poor.

public opinion: The expression of attitudes about government and politics.

public policy: A course of action chosen by government officials.


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