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Public opinion polling and elections

Explain how public opinion polling are used to help candidates win elections in the American government.

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Public Opinion Polling:

Public opinion represents the attitudes and perceptions or, essentially, the public's views on certain issues facing the nation. These attitudes often affect decision-making at the time of elections. Public opinion can be very divisive and is generally centered on emotional issues such as gay rights, or ideological issues such as gun control. It rarely shifts and changes only gradually, if that occurs. In the rare case when public opinion shifts sharply on an issue, research shows that policy often follows suit (Soifer, Hoffman, & Voss, 2001).

Public opinion on its own is not a direct form of political participation in the election process. However, the public's perceptions on political values and issues facing the nation greatly influence political behavior and government policy. It is therefore critical in the sense that it helps determine who the public votes for and influences their decision on whether to participate in other political activities.

How is public opinion measured?
Polling is a recent phenomenon. George Gallup and Elmo Roper first developed statistical techniques for polling in the 1930s (Soifer, Hoffman, & Voss, 2001) and many refinements have been made since. Today, as you well know, polling is constant and has become an integral part of the election and of political participation. In the US elections, where elections are competitive and the press is free, there are endless limits to collect information from the mass public.

Polling techniques:
â?¢TV stations poll by asking viewers to call to express an opinion for or against an issue
â?¢The internet and social sites such as facebook and twitter often participate in online ...

Solution Summary

The solution addresses the role of public opinion and polling in American political elections. It briefly describes what public opinion is and how polls are conducted. Its lists the measurement used in polling, the techniques, the issue of biased polls and how public opinion is formed.