Public Opinion on Public Policy Essay

Public Opinion on Public Policy Essay.

Public Opinion on Public Policy Essay

                                                Category: English

First, please watch the following video, which does a good job explaining “Public Opinion”, along with some of the reasons why it is important in a Democracy. The video at the very end (scroll down) addresses some of the factors that influence or “shape” Public Opinion:

Now, discuss the impact of public opinion on public policy and the political processProvide a detailed response to at least ONE of the following, providing specific examples (as applicable):

1). Does a relationship exist between public opinion and public policy? Asked another way, does public opinion influence public policy, and/or the operation and administration of government?

2). How does the media, especially social media (Links to an external site.), impact public opinion on policy and political issues?

3). Considering circumstances surrounding the past two Presidential elections (Links to an external site.), should politicians and voters trust public opinion poll results?

–More Questions Below…

4). Do public opinion polls accurately reflect how the public feels about a policy issue? Basically, are public opinion polls reliable in expressing public sentiment (as it relates specifically to a public policy issue or initiative)?

5). Under what circumstances are public officials and politicians influenced by public opinion polls?

6). Finally, why is it important to measure or assess public opinion in a Democracy? Do public opinion polls offer any substantive, meaningful value – to citizens, public officials, journalists or others – in a Democratic society?

Requirements: 300-500 words  

Influence of Public Opinion on Public Policy

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Influence of Public Opinion on Public Policy

Public opinion is the aggregate view of the general public on issues that concern their society (Stimson, 2018). With the democratic governance that exists in all states, there is a strong relationship between public opinion and the formation of public policy. This relationship is dynamic as voters will shape most of the decisions made by the government, and the decisions and stands made by government officials will shape public opinion. Officials will want to please the public to gain favor in coming elections and will most often than not vote with their will.

Since the existence of the relationship is not in dispute, what often differentiates most social scientists is the question, how much impact does public opinion hold? The hold is much stronger in governing states than in governing the country as a whole. This is because fewer vertical barriers exist between policymakers and the public at the local level than at the state level. One may think that officials at the state level may serve citizens better as they listen to their needs more than officials in the national government. According to Davison (2020), studies have indicated the contrary since a level of hypocrisy by officials exist in incorporating public opinion in their slogans to manipulate voters and completely ignoring their issues when in power.

Officials will use public opinion polling as an analysis of the ideas held by the public and their distribution across a demographic. These polls have been used time and again to influence campaigns and legislation. The polls have been used for years and have been reliable, thus their extensive use in matters of state. However, legitimacy has been put into question recently with their misrepresentation of outcomes such as the Presidential elections.

The issue around legalizing marijuana is a perfect example of the influence the public holds. Legislators will listen to the public, some even holding a poll to understand the opinion of voters. With the rise in popularity of the drug, officials may vote to legalize it, thus letting public opinion influence their decision.


Davison, W. P. (2020). public opinion – Public opinion and government. Britannica.

Retrieved From:

Stimson, J. (2018). Public Opinion in America: Moods, Cycles, and Swings, Second Edition.


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