Gov: Public Opinion

Public opinion are those opinions held by ordinary citizens that they openly express. There are many ways of assessing public opinion, such as the outcomes of elections, but they have increasingly come to rely on public opinion polls. There are many possible sources of error in polls, and surveys sometimes present a misleading portrayal of the public’s views. However, a properly conducted poll can be an accurate indication of what the public is thinking. Public opinion has a significant influence on government but seldom does it determine exactly what government will do in a particular instance. Public opinion serves to constrain the policy choices of officials but it also is subject to their efforts to mold and channel what the public is thinking. There is evidence that indicates that officials are particularly attentive to public opinion on highly visible and controversial issues of public policy.



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