Public Opinion & Polling Discussions & Activity Chapter 11.1.

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Public Opinion & Polling

Public Opinion & PollingDiscussions & ActivityChapter 11.1

What is public opinion? Why is it important to our democracy?The attitudes and beliefs held by a significant number of Americans.Importance:Drives the concept of RepublicEmphasizes the Will of the majoritySets the public agendaDetermines direction of public policySources that influence public opinionPersonal BackgroundDemographic factors affect opinions: Men think differently than women; income shapes opinions; Race shapes views; occupation affects views, age and world experience also shapes opinions.The Mass MediaImages, poignant stories, bandwagon issues, and watchdog stories all shape public opinionSources that influence public opinionPublic OfficialsThe President is the biggest shaper of public opinion. He communicates directly with Americans through the media. This is called the Bully Pulpit.Franking privilege helps members of Congress communicate with constituents.Interest GroupsLobby members of all branches to support their groups views. Use mass media to get out their message.3 features of public opinionDirectionDo people generally feel negatively or positively about a topic?IntensityHow strongly do people feel about a topic? Do they feel vehemently or ambivalently about the topic?StabilityHow likely are opinions about a topic likely to change?Polling BasicsTo truly measure public opinion, the sample must be reflective of the diverse nature of the population.Random sampling helps ensure diversity; everyone has an equal opportunity of being polled.Push polling is when the pollster asks a loaded question to elicit the response they want from the sample.These polls are biased and unreliable.Wording must be neutral without a right or wrong answer to properly measure public opinion.Why are polls not always accurate?Biased sampleUninformed sampleBiased questionBiased pollsterBandwagon issuesPolling ActivityYou & a partner will choose a topic on which to gauge the classs opinion. No two groups may poll on the same topic.Phrase a non-biased question about your subject by which to gauge the classs opinion. This should NOT be a yes or no question!Poll the class as your sample. Interpret your results.

Final ProductRequirementsWrite the question at the top of the paper.Using a bar graph, plot out your results, visually displaying the view and the number holding the view.Label the bar graph with an easily identifiable legend.Determine the direction of the classs opinion and explain your assessment.Analyze the intensity of the classs opinion.Assess the stability of the classs opinion. Include what you feel may or may not change the views of your classmates.Due at the beginning of class tomorrow. Do the research today. Complete the product before tomorrow.

AssignmentRead chapter 11.2 to complete the organizer on the media.Due tomorrow.


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