Unit_2_notes-1 - Public Opinion Polls Polling Society So...

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Public Opinion Polls Polling Society – So many public opinion polls now-a-days. JFK had 16 public opinion polls done. Clinton – had 150 public opinion polls done. Why have we become a polling society? In the mid-1970s major news stations teamed up with major newspapers. ABC – Washington post NBC – Wall St. Journal CBS – New York Times CNN – Time Magazine Essential procedures to create an accurate public opinion: must have a representative sample – must reflect as accurately as possible. The total population from which the poll is being taken. - They poll 1,100 people per each poll on average - - this is representative because every time they take a poll, that sample is chosen completely at random, the randomness is what makes it representative. - Poll that came out over the weekend: Approval of Bush - 58%, Disapproval of Bush - 40%. With a sample of 1,100 people, the results will accurately reflect the views out of all the population 95 times out of 100, allowing a margin of error of + or – 3. - The other 5% of the time, the margin of error could be much greater. - The smaller the sample, the greater the margin of error. o Example: the margin of error for only 300 people could be + or – 7. Second procedures pollsters must follow: - Questions must be worded as neutrally as possible - The real challenge: coming up with a question where the wording does not influence answers given. Why you ought to view results of a public opinion poll with some caution: Even if you have an accurate example, results only give you the public’s opinion at one point in time. Public opinion is: Volatile unstable The super bowl of polling: Predicting the presidential election. They poll 30,000 instead of 1,100. In Reagan Vs. Carter – polls said it was too close to call, Reagan beat Carter by a landslide, Carter’s team stopped polling 3 days before election. Depending upon the question, you answer to a public opinion poll may be socially accepted responses: people give the answer you think that you ought to give, rather than what your actual thoughts are. Sometimes they give you an opinion which doesn’t reflect knowledge: Do you think we give too much in foreign aid? 73% said yes. How much do we give in foreign aid? They answered 15%. The real answer is 1%. The taking of a public opinion poll may cause some people to give out and opinion when they don’t have one.
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Example: The public affairs act – renew: 24%, don’t renew: 19%, don’t know: 57%. The problem is that the public affairs act doesn’t exist Public Opinion: Do politicians listen? Intro: The popular view. American’s don’t put much faith in government in Washington. There has been a general decline in the percentage that people believe the government pays any attention to what we want. There is no confidence that government is paying any attention to them. Should government follow public opinion?
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Unit_2_notes-1 - Public Opinion Polls Polling Society So...

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