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Public policy and public opinion

It is difficult to assess the independent effect of public opinions on shaping public policy. Public policy often differs from national opinion polls, and the Constitution contains no provision for national referenda on policy issues. The public does not have opinions on many policy questions, public opinion is unstable, and decision makers can easily misinterpret as well as manipulate public opinion. Public policy is more likely to conform to elite opinion than to mass opinion.

Question: Discuss the impact of political process on policy content in context of the preceding statements.

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Public opinion in many cases are not considered by those making rules and laws, unless it is an effort to support their own ideas. The main people concerned with polls is those who commission them and the media, which usually has polls going. In election years, polls are used a lot, but for input on public policy, leaders tend to only lightly consider polls.

With that said, a major grassroots movement or push by an organization can change the way the public perceives a law or policy. When these movements begin to commission and use polling, the media picks up on it ...

Solution Summary

A discussion on the question posed about political process and public policy content.