Public opinion and participation

Public opinion and participation - Ahmed 1 Sahabia Ahmed...

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Ahmed 1 Sahabia Ahmed Mrs. Callaway Political Science 261 22 October 2010 Public Opinion and Participation Public opinion is the basis of democracy. In order for the government to represent the voice of the people, public opinion becomes an important element in choosing the political representatives and influencing public policies. Moreover, accumulation of public opinion by the government, enables them to know public issues and preferences. According to the class notes, public opinion is the collective expression of attitudes about the prominent issues and actors of the day. Examples of public opinion expression are voting, a free press, the right to assembly, and other forms of political participation. The first amendment ensures freedom of expression and speech to the citizens, thus public opinion is also part of the rights. People develop opinions and ideas about politics from political socialization. According to the class notes, political socialization refers to the process by which individuals go through acquiring and developing particular political orientation (knowledge, feeling) regardless of the political world. Furthermore, political socialization comes from two principles namely, primary principle and structuring principle. Experience learned and gained during childhood tend to stick in the mind and this reflects the primary principle. Likewise, experience and knowledge builds with time and accumulates. Hence, the first idea learnt molds in the brain and structures what is learned later, and this portrays the structuring principle. However, there are agents of socialization that shape the political outlook of the people. Family influence is one the powerful agents of socialization in the development of political knowledge, opinions and participation. Parent's political stands influence the child's political opinions and knowledge, especially when both parents have a
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Ahmed 2 strong political attitude. Hence, children adopt their parents party loyalty.
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This note was uploaded on 06/06/2011 for the course POL 261h taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Sam Houston State University.

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Public opinion and participation - Ahmed 1 Sahabia Ahmed...

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