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Chapter 9

PSCI 1101 Chapter 9: Chapter 9

Political Science
Course Code
PSCI 1101
Anand Sokhey

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Chapter 9: Public Opinion and the Media
“Polling the Public,” from Public Opinion in a Democracy, Gallup
oResponsible for modern development of polling
oPublic opinion polls enhance democratic process; provide elected
officials with Americans’ opinions on current events
oStill controversial
Officials pay too much attention to polls and make decisions
based on fluctuations in public opinion instead of independent
Polls may exaggerate opinions if Americans feel pressured to
Polls may affect public behavior; if someone hears in a poll that
their candidate is losing, they may not vote, so polls = self-
fulfilling prophecy
“Choice Words: If you Can’t Understand Our Poll Questions, Then How Can
We Understand Your Answers?” Morin
oPolls can be risky
oMinor differences in question wording can result in dramatically
different polling results
oPeople will answer questions even if they don’t understand/don’t
have an opinion
oPollsters who rely on polls should be skeptical of their significance
“News vs. Entertainment: How Increasing Media Choice Widens Gaps in
Political Knowledge and Turnout” Prior
oEverybody has contact with government, not everybody has contact
with policymakers
oAn issue: behavior of intermediaries bw government/governed
oMost significant intermediaries = news media
Tell the people what the government is doing
Tell the people what the government wants
oInformation is everywhere, but knowledge/participation = stagnant
oNew news outlets makes people more likely to ignore the news
oCan focus on outlets that support their views instead of those that
challenge it
Goodbye to Age of Newspapers, Starr
oEnd of Age of Newspapers; 40% of public still read
oNewspapers online
oRead by people who picked up these habits in prior decades
How to Save the News, Fallows
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
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