Chapter 8 Notes - Public Opinion Public Opinion The sum of...

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Public Opinion Public Opinion: The sum of individual attitudes or beliefs about an issue or question How do we discover what these are? o Surveys or public opinion polls, (1930 George Gallup) In terms of elected officials, how should these polls be used? o Delegate Model of representative democracy Elected officials are obligated to seek out and follow the views of their constituency when they make political decisions (i.e. encourage polls) Assumes an informed public and accurate polls o Trustee system of democracy Elected officials are the experts so they should make decisions which they feels are correct whether or not they are supported by public opinion Assumes an uninformed public o Individual elected officials decide which model is best for themselves o More and more elected officials are using polls to justify various policies Since polls have such a large impact, it is important to understand “the science” behind polls o Survey Research – the idea is to sample a subset of the population that you are interested in o Why take a sample? In most cases, it is impossible to get responses from the entire
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Chapter 8 Notes - Public Opinion Public Opinion The sum of...

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