Public Opinion 1 - Public Opinion Chapter 5 What you should...

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Public Opinion Chapter 5 What you should know: Definitions of “public opinion” *How public opinion is ascertained through polling *How to interpret poll results *How to define “political socialization” and its characteristics *How to identify agents of political socialization Preliminary Issues * Public opinion     :  opinions held by ordinary citizens that they  are willing to express openly Some Observations *Most citizens would fail a current affairs test *Public opinion is uninformed *Public opinion can be contradictory *Example:  decrease taxes and increase defense and education spending  and balance budget—all at the same time! *Such characteristics help public officials ignore public opinion Ascertaining Public Opinion How can we know what you are thinking? Measuring Public Opinion Can attempt to infer from: Election returns *Letters to editors
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*Communications with public officials *Size of crowds at demonstrations *Lobbying activity But each method has weaknesses Public Opinion Polling The Scientific Way to Gauge Public Opinion General Considerations Polling is a systematic and reliable way to measure public  opinion *The objective of the poll is to use a small number of people  to represent the views in the population as a whole *Well conducted polls are very accurate Example:  polls to predict winner of election Some Necessary Definitions * Population     :  all individuals in the study
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Public Opinion 1 - Public Opinion Chapter 5 What you should...

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