“Public opinion” is a term that has gained popularity in different community set ups since its first usage during the French Revolution when it was used to describe the behavior of investors in the Paris money market. Surprisingly, people are yet to come up with a precise definition that will be acceptable globally. Nonetheless, glimpses of hope have been generated in the efforts that have been redirected at defining the term. A majority of researchers and students have agreed that it is a collection of particular opinions regarding an issue of public concern. Nonetheless, public opinion can be analyzed in four ways: a quantitative measure of the distribution of opinions; analysis of the internal relationships of different views that constitute a public opinion; study of political suggestions; and dissemination of ideas in communication media (Shapiro, 2011).
First, public opinion can be explored as a quantitative measure of distributions. A majority of countries have been using public opinion to gauge the extent of particular statistics of public concerns like opinion polls. Therefore, when people’s views and concerns about issues that affect them directly are measured, the essence can be described as public opinion. In that case, public opinion is a way of quantifying information that has been gathered from the people. Second, public opinion can be analyzed as the internal relationships that exist between different ideas that contribute to public opinion at large (Singer, 2011).
Now that governments and countries can measure public opinion, the same ideology has been applied to particular issues in the society. In fact, states have been using surveys as the core component of gaining public information and formulation of policies lately. For example, opinion polls are usually conducted in countries to give the candidates a rough picture of public opinion regarding each one of them as well as what will happen during the actual election. Third, public opinion can be analyzed as political suggestions. A majority of historians have been using the ideology to determine the stand of the people regarding specific issues of concerns (Shapiro, 2011).
Perhaps, there are no better ways of analyzing views of the masses other than collectively treating them as a single opinion. In that case, suggestions from the people are gathered as one and then redirected to the government as a picture of views from all the members of the public. Finally, issues regarding public opinion can be studied as a way of disseminating ideas in communication media. On that regard, public opinion is used to describe how information takes hold to high numbers of people. Just like there are government spokesmen who are used to speak on behalf of their governments or their people, the essence of public opinion is used by the communication media to transfer information from one group of individuals to the next (Singer, 2011).
The idea of public opinion was developed because people wanted to find a critique of describing the implication of particular sets of information from large groups of individuals. Perhaps, we cannot subject everything in the society to actual counting. Sometimes we are forced to develop a rough picture of what each and every person feels about other issues. Also, public opinions were formed to create a platform for formulating policies that are based on the views of people in the community. Most importantly, it was designed to act as a tool for representing people’s interests and how they feel about issues that affect them directly (Shapiro, 2011).
Thankfully, people can now express their concerns and opinions in a collective manner. Also, the essence of public opinion has created a platform for reinforcing certain attitudes in the society. The idea of public opinion is applicable in giving insights into political and economic issues in the society. Most importantly, it has been efficiently applied in the national developments of countries. For example, public vessels like communication media have been effectively used in the modernization of the society (Singer, 2011).
- Shapiro, R. Y. (2011). Public Opinion and American Democracy. Public Opinion Quarterly, 75(5), 982-1017.
- Singer, E. (2011). Editing Public Opinion Quarterly, 1972-1986. Public Opinion Quarterly, 75(5), 823-831.