Shaping Public Opinion & Measuring Public Opinion (Chapter 18, Section 3 & 4)

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Shaping Public Opinion & Measuring Public Opinion (Chapter 18, Section 3 & 4)


  • 4/19/2015



    What is public opinion?

    (Page 514)

    REMINDER (Periods 3, 4, 6 & 7)

    Chapter 18 Assessment:


    Pages 524-525

    Due Thursday, April 16th

    COLLECT (Periods 1 & 5)

    Pass forward Interest Group Posters.



    Shaping Public



    Essential Question:How can public opinion be


    The Nature of Public OpinionPublic opinion is the ideas and attitudes that a significant number of Americans hold about government and political issues.Public opinion is significant to politics because it has an enormous influence on govt.There are three factors that characterize the nature of public opinion. Diversity: opinions are varied since nobody thinks exactly the same. Communication: opinions must be expressed to govt, like through

    interest groups. Significant Numbers: a substantial amount must hold the same

    opinion in order for govt to consider the opinion.

  • 4/19/2015


    Political SocializationPersonal background and life experiences have important influences on the way opinions form.Throughout the course of ones life, their political beliefs and attitudes will be influenced by factors such as family, school/church peers, social characteristics like economic/social status, and the mass media.Political efficacy refers to a persons belief that he or she has an impact on politics. Some people do not believe that they can impact the system

    while others believe that their actions can be effective and lead to changes within the government.

    Political Culture, Ideology and Public Policy

    Political culture is a set of basic values and beliefs about a nation and its government that most citizen share. For example, a belief in liberty and freedom is one of the key

    elements of the American political culture.

    An ideology is a set of basic beliefs about life, culture, govt, and society. The majority of Americans determine their positions on an

    issue-by-issue basis rather than from a strict ideology. These ideologies include liberal, conservative and


    Quick-WriteAlthough we are looking further into the

    mass media next week, try to answer this with the knowledge you already

    have, Do you think that the mass media have too much influence on American

    public opinion? Why or why not.(4-6 Sentences)

    Measuring Public



    Essential Question:How is public opinion


    Nonscientific MethodsIn order for politicians to know what the public is thinking, methods are used to figure out public opinion.Nonscientific methods of analyzing public opinion

    include using political parties and interest groups, mass media, letters and emails, straw pols, and political websites.

    A straw poll does not use scientific procedures to choose the respondents, rather, it uses people who want to partake in the poll voluntarily. This usually causes a biased sample of the population. Biased

    sample is polling a small group that does not accurately represent the larger population.

    The Science of Public Opinion Polls

    Fill-in-the Blank: The smaller the ____-_-____ the more _____ a poll is.

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    Scientific PollingMost politicians today use scientific polls to measure public opinion. Scientific polling involves three basic steps:

    1. Selecting a sample of the group to be questioned2. Presenting a carefully worded question or questions to the

    individuals in the sample.3. Interpreting the results.

    A sampling error is a measurement of how much the sample results of a scientific poll might differ from the actual number. Usually, the results of a poll will say that the error is only plus or minus 3 percent off.

    Scientific PollingPolling has improved greatly since the 1930s, however it is still far from being completely accurate, and it never will be completely accurate. An election exit poll is a poll taken immediately after voters have exited their polling station. Usually news broadcasters such as Fox News and CNN will conduct exit polls to gain an indication as to how an election has turned out because in some elections the actual results might take days to count.

    Pros & Cons of Public Opinion Polls

    Write down at least three pros and three cons mentioned in the video.

    Closing ActivityDo you think the pros of public polling out

    weigh the cons? Should this practice be eliminated or is it too important? What could be done to public polling in order to make it more reliable? Is there another way you can

    think of that would be more accurate and beneficial than public polling?

    (10-14 Sentences)

    Presidential Debate (Period 3, 4, 6 & 7)

    Tomorrow, you will receive a list of possible questions you might be

    asked during the presidential debate on Wednesday. Make sure to study the questions so you will

    be prepared.


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