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YouTube Videos

Constructing Public Opinion

This clip shows how politicians and the media use public opinion polls to change policy and opinion. Media-generated polls are a key component in the media’s presentation of “public opinion” and in how politicians react to this “public opinion.” Media shapes how people think about issues as well as how often they think about them. The way the media presents information about candidates can affect the public’s opinion of them and thus influence elections.


Discussion Questions

  1. After seeing this video, would you say that public opinion polls make the nation more democratic? Does everyone now have a voice through their opinion poll?

  2. Are public opinion polls the best way for a leader to get information about a questionable decision? If 51 percent of the people want something, do the other 49 percent just have to live with it? How can a leader be certain that the poll is both carried out and reported fairly?

  3. Should the media report on public opinion polls? What would happen if the media could not report on public opinion polls for a designated time period prior to an election?

American Government: What Is Public Opinion?

This short video explains public opinion as the interrelationship of individual opinions, attitudes, and values. The instructor who uses this video needs to be aware that it cuts off and there is an advertisement to obtain the full video. The video stops at approximately three minutes, and the information in those three minutes is valuable.


Discussion Questions

  1. Would you expect public opinion to be consistent? What might cause variances?

  2. How do values lead to opinions? Can values change? How do changing values change attitudes and opinions? Should politicians look to opinions or values when making decisions for the public?

  3. Why is public opinion important?

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