6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion – US Government 3e | OpenStaxName (2023)

learning goals

At the end of this section you can:

  • Defining public opinion and political socialization
  • Explain the process and role of political socialization in the American political system.
  • Compare the way citizens receive political information
  • Explain how beliefs and ideologies influence the formation of public opinion.

Gathering public opinion through polls and interviews is part of American political culture. Politicians want to know what the public thinks. Campaign managers want to know how citizens will vote. Media representatives try to write stories about what Americans want. Every day surveys take people's pulse and report the results. And yet we have to ask ourselves: why do we care what people think?


Public opinion is a collection of popular opinions about something, perhaps a person, a local or national event, or a new idea. For example, every day a series ofopinion pollBusinesses are calling Americans at random to ask if they approve or disapprove of the way the President is running the economy.4When international situations arise, pollsters ask whether citizens support US intervention in places like Syria or Ukraine. These individual opinions are collected to be analyzed and interpreted by politicians and the media. The analysis examines how the public feels or thinks so that politicians can use the information to make decisions about their future parliamentary votes, campaign messages or advertising.

But where do people's opinions come from? Most citizens base their political opinions on their beliefs5and their attitudes, which begin to form in childhood.beliefsThey are strongly held ideas that underpin our values ​​and expectations in life and politics. For example, the idea that we all have the right to equality, liberty, and privacy is shared by most people in the United States. We can acquire this belief by growing up in the United States or by coming from a country that did not offer these precious principles to its citizens.

OursettingsThey are also influenced by our personal beliefs and represent the preferences we form based on our life experiences and values. For example, a person who has experienced racism or intolerance may be skeptical of the actions of authority figures.

Over time, our beliefs and attitudes about people, events, and ideas evolve into a set of accepted norms or ideas about what we think should happen in our society, or what is right for government to do in a given situation. In this way, attitudes and beliefs form the basis of opinions.


At the same time that our beliefs and attitudes are formed in childhood, so are wesocialized🇧🇷 That means we learn from many sources of information about the society and community we live in and how we should behave in it.political socializationIt is the process by which we are trained to understand and participate in a country's political world, and like most forms of socialization, it begins when we are very young. We may first learn about politics by, for example, watching a parent or guardian vote, or by listening to presidents and candidates on television or online, or by watching adults honor the American flag at an event (Figure 6.2🇧🇷 In the course of socialization, we are introduced to basic political information at school. We recite the Oath of Allegiance and learn about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the two main political parties, the three branches of government and the economic system.

6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion – US Government 3e | OpenStaxName (1)

Figure 6.2 Political socialization begins early. HansHenoch, former Prime Minister of Greenland, gets help in the elections from five-year-old Pipaluk Petersen (a). Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class TashawbabaMcHerrin(b) present a US flag to a child visiting the USSGesellschaftduring Fleet Week in Port Everglades, Florida. (Credit a: modified work by Leiff Josefsen; Credit b: modified work by Matthew Keane, US Navy)

By the end of school, we usually have the information we need to form political opinions and be an active part of the political system. A young man may find he prefers the Democratic Party because he supports her views on social programs and education, while a young woman may decide to vote for the Republican Party because its program reflects her beliefs about economic growth and family values.

Accounting for the socialization process is critical to our understanding of public opinion, since the beliefs we acquire early in life are unlikely to change dramatically as we age.6Our political ideology, made up of attitudes and beliefs that help shape our views of political theory and politics, is rooted in who we are as individuals. Our ideology may change subtly as we age and are confronted with new circumstances or new information, but our underlying beliefs and attitudes are unlikely to change significantly unless we experience events that touch us deeply. For example, after the terrorist attacks, the family members of the victims of 9/11 became more republican and political.7Likewise, young adults who took part in political protests in the 1960s and 1970s were more likely to get involved in politics in general than their non-protesting peers.8

If an event, such as an economic disaster or a personal security threat, shatters enough beliefs or attitudes, ideological shifts can influence our voting behavior. During the 1920s, the Republican Party controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate, sometimes by a large margin.9After the stock market crash and the country's plunge into the Great Depression, many citizens left the Republican Party. In 1932, voters overwhelmingly chose Democratic candidates for the presidency and Congress. The Democratic Party gained registered members and the Republican Party lost them.10Citizens' beliefs changed to the point that control of Congress passed from one party to another, and the Democrats held the Congress for several decades. Another sea change occurred in Congress in the 1994 election, when the Republican Party regained control of the House and Senate for the first time in over forty years.

Today, polling institutes point out that citizens' beliefs have become much more polarized or largely contradictory over the past decade.11to track thisPolarisation, Pew Research conducted a 25-year study of Republican and Democratic respondents. Every few years, Pew polled respondents and asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statements. These statements are called "value questions" or "value statements" because they measure what respondents value. Examples of statements are: "Government regulation often does more harm than good to the economy", "Unions are necessary to protect workers" and "Society must ensure that everyone has an equal chance of success". After a 25-year comparison of these In response, Pew Research found that Republican and Democratic respondents are increasingly answering these questions very differently. This is especially true for questions about government and politics. In 1987, 58% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans agreed that the government controls our daily lives too much. In 2012, 47% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans agreed with this statement. This is an example of polarization, where members of one party view government from a very different perspective than members of the other party (Figure 6.3).12The gulf between the parties in the role of government has continued to widen since 2012. While the gap was 30% in 2012, a 2019 Pew study put that figure at 35%.13

6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion – US Government 3e | OpenStaxName (2)

Figure 6.3 Over the years, Democrats and Republicans have drifted farther apart in their views on the role of government. In 1987, Republicans and Democrats' answers to 48 questions about values ​​differed by an average of just 10%, but that difference has widened to 18% over the past 25 years. A similar study conducted by Pew in 2019, using thirty value questions, shows the gap has increased to 39%.

Political scientists have observed this and other shifts in beliefs following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, including a surge in trust in government.14and a new willingness to restrict the liberties of groups or citizens who "do not fit into the dominant cultural type".fifteenAccording to some scholars, these changes caused partisanship to become more polarized than in previous decades, as more citizens began to view themselves as conservative or liberal rather than moderate.sixteenSome believe that 9/11 caused many citizens to become more conservative in general, although it is difficult to assess whether such a change will last.17


Apolitical socialization agentis a source of political information designed to help citizens understand how to act within their political system and make decisions on political issues. The information can help a citizen decide how to vote, where to donate money, or how to protest government decisions.

The most important actors in socialization are the family and the school. Other influential actors are social groups such as religious institutions and friends, and the media. Political socialization is not unique to the United States. Many nations have recognized the benefits of socializing their populations. China, for example, emphasizes nationalism in schools as a means of strengthening national unity.18In the United States, one of the benefits of socialization is that our political system enjoysblur support, a support that is characterized by high political stability, acceptance of the government as legitimacy and the common goal of system preservation.19These characteristics keep a country stable even in times of political or social upheaval. But diffuse support is not given quickly, nor without the help of agents of political socialization.

For many children, family is their first contact with politics. Children can listen to the conversations of adults at home and reconstruct the political messages that support their parents. They often know how their parents or grandparents want to vote, which in turn can socialize them into political behaviors such as joining a political party.20Children accompanying their parents on Election Day in November are confronted with the act of voting and the concept of civic duty, which is to take actions for the good of the country or community. Families involved in community or political projects sensitize children to community needs and policies.

Introducing children to these activities has an impact on their future behavior. Early and recent evidence suggests that children adopt some of their parents' beliefs and political views.Figure 6.4).21Children of Democratic parents often become registered Democrats, while children of Republican families often become Republicans. Children who live in families where parents do not demonstrate consistent party allegiance are less likely to be strong Democrats or Republicans and more likely to be independent.22

6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion – US Government 3e | OpenStaxName (3)

Figure 6.4 A father's political orientation often affects his son's political orientation. In the first two datasets (children whose parents share the same party affiliation), note the formation of ideology with that of the parents. If the parents do not belong to the same political party, the child's ideology is less homogeneous.

Während die Familie für eine informelle politische Bildung sorgt, bietet die Schule eine formellere und zunehmend wichtigere. Die anfängliche Einführung ist normalerweise breit und thematisch und umfasst Entdecker, Präsidenten, Siege und Symbole, aber die Lektionen sind im Allgemeinen romantisiert und sprechen nicht viele der spezifischen Probleme oder Kontroversen an, die mit historischen Figuren und Momenten verbunden sind. JörgWashingtonContributions such as that of our first president will be highlighted, but teachers are unlikely to mention that he enslaved people. In fact, a 2018 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows evidence of a persistent lack of coverage of slavery, difficulties in teaching it, and very superficial treatment of the subject in textbooks.23The classes will also try to personalize the government and get the leaders to identify with the children. A teacher can talk about AbrahamLincolnIn his childhood, he struggled to get an education, despite the death of his mother and the poverty of his family. Children learn to respect the government, obey the law, and respond to requests from police, firefighters, and other first responders. The Pledge of Allegiance becomes a regular part of the school day as students learn to respect symbols of our country like the flag and abstractions like freedom and equality.

As students progress through the higher grades, the lessons will include more detailed information about the history of the United States, its economic system, and the workings of government. Complex topics such as legislative processes, checks and balances and internal policymaking are dealt with. Introductory economics courses teach the different ways of building an economy and explain how the capitalist system works. Many high schools have introduced civic engagement requirements to encourage students to get involved in their communities. Many offer Advanced Placement courses in US Government and History or other higher-level courses such as: B. an International Baccalaureate or dual credit courses. These courses can provide detail and realism, address controversial issues, and encourage students to make comparisons and think critically about the United States in a global and historical context. College students can choose to continue their academic study of the US political system, become active in campus advocacy or advocacy groups, or run for one of the many elected offices on campus or even in the community. Each step in the process of socializing the educational system prepares students to make decisions and be participatory members of political society.

We are also socialized outside of our homes and schools. When citizens participate in religious ceremonies, as reported by 64% of Americans in a recent poll,24They are socialized to adopt beliefs that influence their politics. Religious leaders often teach on issues of life, death, punishment, and obligation, which translates into opinions on political issues such as abortion, euthanasia, welfare, the death penalty, and foreign military action. Political candidates speak at religious centers and institutions to find like-minded voters. For example Senator Tedcruz(R-TX) announced its 2016 presidential candidacy at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian institution. This university corresponded to Cruz's conservative ideological and religious leanings and was intended to give him a boost from the conservative evangelical community.

Friends and colleagues also have a socializing effect on the citizens. Communication networks are based on trust and common interests; So when we receive information from friends and neighbors, we often accept it willingly because we trust it.25Through Information Submittedsocial medialike Facebook should also have a socializing effect. Friends like articles and information and share their political beliefs and information with each other. However, due to the self-selection of friends, social networks have the potential to introduce prejudice. If the social media platform doesn't properly monitor what's real in posts and ads, these channels could become objects of manipulation, like in the 2016 election.26

The media – newspapers, television, radio and the internet – also socialize citizens through the information they provide. For too long the media has served as the gatekeeper of our information, creating reality by choosing what to present. If hemediait dealt with no subject or event, it was as if it didn't exist. However, with the advent of the internet and social networks, traditional media have become less powerful representatives of this type of socialization.

Another way the media socializes the public is throughStructure, or choose how the information is presented. Framing can affect how an event or story is perceived. For example, candidates described with negative adjectives may do poorly on election day. Consider the recent protests over Michael's death.Braunin Ferguson, Missouri and FreddieGrauin Baltimore, Maryland. Both deaths were caused by police action against unarmed African American men. Brown was fatally shot by a police officer on August 9, 2014. Gray died of spinal injuries sustained while being transported to prison in April 2015. While some TV stations described the demonstrations as riots and looting, others described them as protests and anti-corruption. Demonstrations included riots and protests, but individuals' perceptions were influenced by the framing chosen by their preferred sources of information (Figure 6.5).27

6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion – US Government 3e | OpenStaxName (4)

Figure 6.5 Images of protesters of the Baltimore "riot" (a) and the "Baltimore riots" (b) on April 25, 2015. (Credit to: work modified from Pete Santilli Live Stream/YouTube; Credit b: work modified from "Newzulu " /youtube)

Finally, media information presented as fact may contain covert or overt political material.secret contentit is political information given under the pretense of neutrality. A magazine can publish a story about climate change by interviewing representatives of only one side of the political debate and downplaying the opposing view, without acknowledging the one-sided nature of its reporting. Conversely, if the author or publication makes it clear to the reader or viewer that the information offers only one side of the political debate, the political message isopen content🇧🇷 Political commentators like Rush Limbaugh and publications likeMutter Jonesopenly express their ideological views. While this overtly political content may be offensive or irritating to a reader or viewer, exposure to the material is open to anyone.


The process of socialization leaves citizens with attitudes and beliefs that create a personal ideology. Ideologies depend on attitudes and beliefs and how we prioritize each belief over the others. Most citizens have a variety of beliefs and attitudes about government actions. Many believe that the government should provide common defense in the form of a national army. They also argue that the government should provide its citizens with services in the form of free education, unemployment insurance and assistance to the poor.

When asked how the state budget should be divided, Americans reveal priorities that divide public opinion. Should we have a smaller military and larger welfare payments, or a larger military budget and limited welfare payments? this is thatGuns vs. ButterDebate that assumes governments have limited money and must decide whether to spend more on the military or on social programs. The election forces citizens to split into two opposing groups.

Divisions like these are emerging in public opinion. Suppose we have four different people named Garcia, Chin, Smith, and Dupree. Garcia may believe that the United States should provide free education to all citizens through college, while Chin may believe that education should only be free through high school. Smith may believe that children should be covered by government-paid health insurance, while Dupree believes that all citizens should be covered. How we prioritize our beliefs and decide what matters most to us ultimately determines whether we are on the liberal or conservative end of the political spectrum, or somewhere in between.



You can voluntarily participate in opinion polls. It takes multiple respondents on a variety of topics to give a credible picture of what Americans think about politics, entertainment, marketing and more. One research group, Harris Interactive, maintains an Internet pool of potential respondents of diverse ages, educational levels, backgrounds, cultures and more. When a survey is designed and sent, Harris sends an email invitation to the group to meet with respondents. Respondents choose which surveys to take based on the topics, time commitment, and the (often small) compensation offered.

Harris Interactive is a subsidiary of Nielsen, a company with a long history of measuring television and media audiences in the United States and abroad. Nielsen ratings help television stations identify programs and news with enough viewers to ensure production will continue, and also help set advertising prices (based on viewership) for commercials on popular shows. Harris Interactive has enhanced Nielsen's research methods using data from surveys and interviews to better predict future policy and market trends.

Harris' research spans economics, lifestyle, sports, international affairs and much more. Which topic has the most searches? politics of course.

Want to know what types of surveys you can receive? The results of some surveys give you an idea. They are publicly available on the Harris website. Sign in for more informationHarris online survey.

Ideologies and the ideological spectrum

A useful way of looking at ideologies is to place them on a spectrum that compares them visually based on what they prioritize. Traditionally, liberal ideologies are on the left and conservative ideologies are on the right. (This place dates back to the French Revolution, which is why liberals are referred to as leftists and conservatives as rightists.) Ideologies at the ends of the spectrum are the most extreme; those in the middle are moderate. Thus, people who identify with left and right ideologies identify with beliefs on the left and right of the spectrum, while moderates balance beliefs on the extreme end of the spectrum.

In the United States, ideologies on the right side of the spectrum prioritize government control over personal liberties. They range from fascism to authoritarianism to conservatism. Ideologies on the left of the spectrum prioritize equality and range from communism to socialism to liberalism (Figure 6.6🇧🇷 Moderate ideologies sit in the middle and try to balance the two extremes. When thinking about ideology and politics, it is important not to fall into false dichotomies. One of these false dichotomies concerns socialism versus capitalism. The two terms were combined into party categories meaning collectivism or individualism. Political systems, including the American one, can have both socialist and capitalist aspects.28

6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion – US Government 3e | OpenStaxName (5)

Figure 6.6 People who adopt left-wing ideologies in the United States identify with beliefs on the left side of the spectrum that prioritize equality, while those on the right emphasize control.

fascismpromotes total control of the country by the ruling party or political leader. This form of government will dominate the economy, military, society, and culture, and often seeks to control the private lives of its citizens. Authoritarian leaders control a country's politics, military, and government, and often the economy.

Conservative governments seek to uphold a nation's traditions by balancing the rights of the individual with the good of the community.traditional conservatismsupports the authority of the monarchy and the church and believes that the government ensures the rule of law and maintains a safe and orderly society.modern conservatismit differs from traditional conservatism in that it assumes that the elected government will protect individual liberties and legislate. Modern conservatives also favor a smaller government that stays out of the economy and allows the market and businesses to dictate prices, wages and supply.

Classic Liberalismbelieves in individual freedoms and rights. It is based on the idea of ​​free will that people are born equal with the right to make decisions without government interference. Be suspicious of government, as history contains many examples of monarchs and leaders restricting the rights of citizens. This day,modern liberalismit focuses on equality and supports state intervention in society and the economy as long as it promotes equality. Liberals expect government to provide basic social and educational programs so that everyone has a chance to succeed.

Undersocialismthe government uses its powers to promote social and economic equality in the country. Social Democrats believe the government should offer everyone expanded public services and programs, such as health care, subsidized housing and food, early childhood education and cheap college tuition. Socialism sees government as the guarantor that all citizens receive equal opportunities and results. Wealthier citizens are expected to contribute more to government revenues through higher taxes paid for services rendered to everyone. Socialist countries also tend to have higher minimum wages than non-socialist countries.

In theory,communismpromotes common ownership of all goods, means of production and materials. This means that the government or states must own property, farms, manufactures and businesses. By controlling these aspects of the economy, communist governments can prevent the exploitation of workers while creating an equal society. Extreme income inequality, with some citizens earning millions of dollars a year and others only hundreds, is avoided by introducing wage controls or forgoing the currency. Communism poses a problem, however, because practice differs from theory. The theory assumes that the movement towards communism is supported and led by the proletariat or the workers and citizens of a country.29The violations of human rights by the governments of genuinely communist countries make it appear that the movement was not led by the people but by the leadership.

We can characterize the economic variations of these ideologies by adding another dimension to the above ideological spectrum, whether we prefer the government to control the state economy or prefer to stay on the sidelines. The extremes are a command economy, as existed in former Soviet Russia, and a laissez-faire ("leave it alone") economy, as in the United States before the 1929 market crash, when banks and corporations were unregulated. . 🇧🇷 Communism prioritizes control over politics and the economy, while libertarianism is almost the opposite.Libertarianbelieve in individual rights and limited government interference in private life and personal economic decisions. The government exists to preserve freedom and life, so its main task is to ensure internal peace and national defense. Libertarians also believe that the national government should maintain a military in the event of international threats, but that it should not set minimum wages or rule on private matters such as same-sex marriage or abortion rights.30

Where a person's ideology falls on the spectrum gives us insight into that person's views. While people can sometimes be liberal on one issue and conservative on another, a citizen to the left of liberalism who is close to socialism would likely be happy to see the 2021 Wage Increase Act passed, eventually raising the minimum wage to $7.25 would raise . at $15 an hour. A citizen close to conservatism would believe that the Patriot Act is reasonable because it allows the FBI and other government agencies to collect data on citizens' phone calls and social media communications to monitor potential terrorism (Figure 6.7🇧🇷 A citizen on the right side of the spectrum is more in favor of cutting benefits like unemployment and Medicaid.

6.1 The Nature of Public Opinion – US Government 3e | OpenStaxName (6)

Figure 6.7 Public opinion on a given issue can vary widely depending on the political ideology or party of the respondents.

link to learning

Where do your beliefs come from? The Pew Research Center offers aTypology-Testto help you figure it out. Ask a friend or family member to answer a few questions with you and compare the results. What do you think of government regulation? The armed forces? The economy? Now compare your results. are you two liberals Conservative? Moderate?


What is public opinion in government? ›

Public opinion is the collective opinion on a specific topic or voting intention relevant to a society. It is the people's views on matters affecting them.

Which statement accurately reflects the nature of American public opinion quizlet? ›

Which statement accurately reflects the nature of American public opinion? Most people have a range of opinions—some are well formed, and others are formed on the spot.

What are public opinion polls used for? ›

Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence intervals. A person who conducts polls is referred to as a pollster.

How is public opinion measured and used quizlet? ›

Public opinion is measured by election results, personal contacts, media reporting, and especially by polls.

What is the importance of public opinion quizlet? ›

Why is public opinion important? It guides government action, influences public policy, gives feedback to politicians. It gives self rule in democracy.

What are three features of public opinion quizlet? ›

What are the three components of public opinion? Direction, intensity, and stability. How do political leaders measure public opinion? Public opinion polls.

Which of the following statements best describes public opinion quizlet? ›

Which of the following statements best describes public opinion? It is the aggregation of the individual views about political issues, leaders, and institutions.

What is public opinion in government quizlet? ›

public opinion. definition: the distribution of individual preferences or evaluations of a given issue, candidate, or institution within a specific population.

What does public opinion refer to quizlet? ›

The term public opinion is used to describe. The beliefs and attitudes that people have about issues, events, elected officials and policies.

How were the first public opinion polls conducted? ›

Many of these polls were conducted by printing coupons or forms in the newspaper and inviting readers to send them back. Later in the 19th century, some efforts were made to make the polling more representative of the community.

How do political leaders use public opinion polls? ›

Polls help voters research information about each of the candidates. Polls tell voters the issues that candidates support. Polls identify the top candidates and the media interview those candidates. Polls explain which candidates should win the election.

What is the best way to measure public opinion quizlet? ›

Public opinion is best measured by public opinion polls. Opinion polls are taken in order to collect information by asking people questions. There are two major types of opinion polls: straw polls and scientific polls. Early polling efforts relied on the straw vote.

What is the importance of public opinion in a democracy Brainly? ›

public opinion makes the government as well as the country stronger, as the democratic government depends upon the public opinion for the policies to be introduced. the public has the power to make or reject the policies which don't seem favorable for them if only accepted collectively.

What factors influence public opinion quizlet? ›

The main factors shaping public opinion include family, school/education, mass media, peer groups, opinion leaders, and historic events.

What do you need in order to have a public opinion quizlet? ›

To be a public opinion, a view must involve something of general concern and of interest to a significant portion of the people as a whole. In addition, public opinion involves only those views people hold such as things as parties and candidates, taxes, unemployment, foreign policy, etc.

Is the court of public opinion important? ›

The court of public opinion has been described as the most important informal court.

What is public opinion and how is it formed quizlet? ›

How is public opinion formed. The process by which people acquire political beliefs is called political socialization. People influenced by different factors. People are influenced by. Their family, school and work, age, race, gender , religion to form public opinion.

How is public opinion formed quizlet? ›

What are the four sources of public opinion? Among the factors that influence public opinion are a person's background, the mass media, public officials, and interest groups.

What are the 5 types of opinion? ›

  • 2.1 Public opinion.
  • 2.2 Group opinion.
  • 2.3 Scientific opinion.
  • 2.4 Legal opinion.
  • 2.5 Judicial opinion.
  • 2.6 Reasoned opinion.

What are the elements of opinion? ›

The opinion usually contains the following elements: name of the judge who wrote the opinion, statement of facts, the legal issues implicated, the court's rationale and holding, and dicta.

What are the three features of a public good? ›

What are public goods?
  • A public good has two key characteristics: it is nonexcludable and nonrivalrous. ...
  • Nonexcludable means that it is costly or impossible for one user to exclude others from using a good.
  • Nonrivalrous means that when one person uses a good, it does not prevent others from using it.

What best describes public opinion? ›

Public opinion is the aggregation of many citizens' views and interests regarding political issues, leaders, institutions, and events.

Which of the following best describes public policy? ›

Public policy can be generally defined as a system of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives.

What is public agenda in government? ›

In politics, a political agenda is a list of subjects or problems (issues) to which government officials as well as individuals outside the government are paying serious attention to at any given time.

What is another word for public opinion? ›

What is another word for public opinion?
climate of opinioncommunity sentiment
popular beliefprevailing belief
prevailing sentimentpublic belief
social pressurespecial-interest pressure
vox popvox populi
2 more rows

What is public opinion quizlet Chapter 5? ›

public opinion. citizens' attitudes about political issues, leaders, institutions, and events.

What is public opinion quizlet Chapter 10? ›

public opinion. the collective attitudes and beliefs of individuals on one or more issues. public opinion polls. scientific efforts to estimate what an entire group thinks about an issue by asking a smaller sample of the group for its opinion. political socialization.

What can change public opinion quizlet? ›

Recent events can cause a long term change in public opinions. Events can hold similar sway (disapproval in president causes disapproval in the party). People who don't have strong opinions/unfamiliar with the content are more likely than others to change their opinion.

Which of the following is not a characteristic of public opinion quizlet? ›

Which of the following is not a characteristic of public opinion? Citizens are typically unwilling to offer opinions on matters outside their experience, even when asked by pollsters.

What is a public opinion poll and who uses the information from one quizlet? ›

What is a public opinion poll, and who uses the information from one? a Public opinion poll is a survey in which individuals are asked to answer questions about a particular issue or person. What type of poll is conducted using random sampling?

Why are public opinion polls not always accurate quizlet? ›

Sample Answer: Public opinion polls are not always accurate because they can reflect bias depending upon the sampled polled, as when the sample is too narrow and is not accurately reflective of the population. Also, respondents are not always truthful; this can impact the accuracy of the poll.

In what ways can public opinion affect government policy quizlet? ›

the degree to which individuals express trust in the government and political institutions. How does public opinion affect policy making? Public opinion does not make public policy; rather, it restrains government officials from making truly unpopular actions/laws.

What is the process by which we develop our political values and opinions? ›

Political socialization is the process by which individuals learn and frequently internalize a political lens framing their perceptions of how power is arranged and how the world around them is (and should be) organized; those perceptions, in turn, shape and define individuals' definitions of who they are and how they ...

Why do politicians care about public opinion quizlet? ›

Public opinion is normally stable and coherent. The public influences the government through their actions (how they vote, who they give their money to). The government should listen to public opinion because if they don't then they might not get reelected or the public could revolt against the government.

Which of the following is the most accurate statement about individual formation of public opinion quizlet? ›

Which of the following is the most accurate statement about individual formation of public opinion? Many individuals are politically informed but lack memory of some of the facts used to form their opinions.

What is the role of opinion leaders in the formation of public opinion quizlet? ›

. Opinion leaders as defined by Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld, are people who, because of their interest in and knowledge of a subject, become experts and inform others earth formally as spokespeople or informally through daily interaction with family members, colleagues, and peers.

Which of the following statements articulate why public opinion matters quizlet? ›

Which of the following statements articulate why public opinion matters? Correct Ans: - Understanding public opinion helps us understand the behavior of politicians. - Citizens' political actions are driven by their opinions.

Which of the following is the best definition of public opinion? ›

public opinion, an aggregate of the individual views, attitudes, and beliefs about a particular topic, expressed by a significant proportion of a community.

What is the definition of political opinion? ›

"Political opinion" refers to a broad category of attitudes that people might have on matters that concern their state, their government, or their society.

When was public opinion written? ›

Public Opinion is a book by Walter Lippmann published in 1922. It is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially of the irrational and often self-serving social perceptions that influence individual behavior and prevent optimal societal cohesion.

Which one is the correct answer for the definition of opinion? ›

An opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement that is not conclusive, rather than facts, which are true statements.

What does public opinion mean in court? ›

Trying cases in the court of public opinion refers to using the news media to influence public support for one side or the other in a court case. This can result in persons outside the justice system (i.e. people other than the judge or jury) taking action for or against a party.

What are some opinion words? ›

  • I agree with …
  • I feel that …
  • I guess/imagine …
  • I have no doubt that / I'm certain that …
  • I strongly believe that …
  • I've never really thought about this before, but …
  • My personal opinion is that / Personally, my opinion is that …
  • To be honest / In my honest opinion, …

What is the base word of opinion? ›

English opinion comes from Middle English opinion, openyoun, from Anglo-French opinion, oppinion “view, belief,” later “reputation” and “intention, judgment.”

What is the word of public? ›

The Latin root word, publicus, means "of the people, of the state, common, or ordinary." Definitions of public. adjective. not private; open to or concerning the people as a whole. “the public good”

What is difference of opinion definition? ›

Definitions of difference of opinion. a disagreement or argument about something important. synonyms: conflict, difference, dispute.

What is the legal definition of opinion? ›

With respect to law, “opinion” primarily refers to a judicial opinion, which is a court's written statement explaining the court's decision for the case.

What is an opinion leader in government? ›

Opinion leaders are individuals with social influence within groups who typically serve as the hub of an interpersonal communications network (1). Because they are considered credible and trustworthy, these leaders typically are role models for others, and their opinions and behaviors are well respected.


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