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Public Opinion

Public Opinion

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Public Opinion

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Presentation Transcript

  1. Public Opinion

  2. What is Public Opinion? • Overt expression of values, beliefs, and attitudes by some segment of society. • Values: basic orientation to politics and life • Beliefs: perceptions of reality • Attitudes: positive or negative orientations toward an object • Not strictly limited to politics and government.

  3. How Do We Measure Public Opinion? • Usually measured via public opinion polls (surveys). • Sometimes from focus groups • What do we learn from polls? • Values, attitudes, beliefs • Facts • Behavior • Sampling procedures. • Population vs. Sample • Random vs. non-random (biased) • Sample size

  4. Problems with Survey Questions • Question wording is another potential source of error • Sensitive questions • Biased questions • Confusing questions • Non-attitudes

  5. Where to Get Public Opinion Information • www.pollingreport.com • www.gallup.com

  6. How Are Opinions Formed? • Political Socialization • Retrospective Modification

  7. Political Socialization • Explicit or implicit • Agents of socialization • Family • Schools • Peers • Adult socialization

  8. Retrospective Modification • Socialization AND political experiences • Looks something like this: Political Events SocializationOpinion Mass Media

  9. The Role of the Media • Inform • Agenda setting • Framing • Persuasion

  10. Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values • Short-term attitudes and beliefs • Candidate evaluations, issues, etc. • Long-term attitudes and beliefs • Party affiliation, efficacy, trust • Core values • Democratic principles, ideology • Political knowledge

  11. Public opinion and public policy • Evidence of congruence • Evidence of incongruence • Explanations

  12. Opinion gaps • Education • Sex • Race • Religion