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Public opinion can be described as those attitudes held by a significant number of people on matters of government and politics. What is Public Opinion?

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Presentation on theme: "Public opinion can be described as those attitudes held by a significant number of people on matters of government and politics. What is Public Opinion?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Public opinion can be described as those attitudes held by a significant number of people on matters of government and politics. What is Public Opinion? Different Publics Different Publics The United States is made up of many groups, or publics, who share common views. The United States is made up of many groups, or publics, who share common views.

2 Publics Continued… Public Opinion Public Opinion More than one public opinion can exist at the same time, because there are many publics. A view or position must be expressed in the open in order to be a public opinion.

3 Measuring Public Opinion Elections – By votes cast for a particular candidate or part. Elections – By votes cast for a particular candidate or part. Interest groups (Pressure Groups) – Size and active participation. Interest groups (Pressure Groups) – Size and active participation. Media – Editorials, syndicated columns, television commentaries, amount of time given an issue. Media – Editorials, syndicated columns, television commentaries, amount of time given an issue.

4 Public Polling Straw Vote – asking the same question to a large number of people… (highly unreliable – does nothing to ensure that a reasonable cross-section of the total population will be represented.) Straw Vote – asking the same question to a large number of people… (highly unreliable – does nothing to ensure that a reasonable cross-section of the total population will be represented.) Scientific Polling – a complex process that attempts to follow a specific set of guidelines to gauge public opinion. Using a small sample to represent the population as a whole. Scientific Polling – a complex process that attempts to follow a specific set of guidelines to gauge public opinion. Using a small sample to represent the population as a whole.

5 Scientific Polling 1. Define the universe 2. Construct a representative sample 3. Prepare valid questions 4. Select and control the means by which the poll will be taken 5. Report the finding to the public

6 Scientific Polling: 1. Define the Universe the whole population that the poll aims to measure the whole population that the poll aims to measure ex. voters in Chicago, the entire high school population of Illinois, All Republicans, All Democrats, people whose ages are 35-50… ex. voters in Chicago, the entire high school population of Illinois, All Republicans, All Democrats, people whose ages are 35-50…

7 Scientific Polling: 2. Construct a Representative Sample Random Sample Random Sample takes into account a certain number of randomly selected people takes into account a certain number of randomly selected people Quota Sample Quota Sample Deliberately selected sample of people constructed to reflect several of the major characteristics of the universe. Deliberately selected sample of people constructed to reflect several of the major characteristics of the universe.

8 Scientific Polling: 3. Prepare Valid Questions Question wording is extremely important as the wording can effect the reliability of the poll. Question wording is extremely important as the wording can effect the reliability of the poll. Purposely try not to use loaded words (terms that are difficult to understand) or word questions in such a way that will tend to shape the answers that are given. Purposely try not to use loaded words (terms that are difficult to understand) or word questions in such a way that will tend to shape the answers that are given.

9 Scientific Polling: 4. Select and Control the Polling Face to face Face to face telephone telephone mail mail in face to face polling, appearance (dress, attitude, and tone can have a big impact) in face to face polling, appearance (dress, attitude, and tone can have a big impact)

10 Scientific Polling: 5. Report the Findings To be of real value poll data must be analyzed, interpreted, and published. To be of real value poll data must be analyzed, interpreted, and published. Real Clear Politics Real Clear Politics

11 Limitations of Polls and Public Opinion While major national polls are fairly reliable, challenges to the intensity, stability, and relevance of an issue cause changes in public opinion over time. While major national polls are fairly reliable, challenges to the intensity, stability, and relevance of an issue cause changes in public opinion over time. Some believe that polls help shape opinions that they are supposed to measure. Some believe that polls help shape opinions that they are supposed to measure. The force public opinion has can be tempered by numerous factors: interest groups, family, education etc. The force public opinion has can be tempered by numerous factors: interest groups, family, education etc. From the data and interpretations, and organization can draw conclusions and see if the poll validated or repudiated their hypothesis. From the data and interpretations, and organization can draw conclusions and see if the poll validated or repudiated their hypothesis.


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