Sie sind auf Seite 1von 30

Mass Media

What is Public Opinion?


Complex collection of the opinions of many
different people (on public Affairs)
Misconceptions of Public Opinion:
Belief all or most people have the same view
The public favors this or that

Very few matters all or most of the People


agree on
Must involve something of general concern
and a significant portion of the people

Different Publics
Believe it or not there
are different Publics
Each issues has a
public
National health care;
President is doing an
excellent/terrible job;
Capital punishment
should be abolished

Belong to more than one

Different Publics:
Not many Issues
capture the attention
of ALL Americans
Name one????

Public Opinion
includes ONLY those
views related to
PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Politics, public issues,
making public policy

Other Factors

Family And Education


Your not born with
your values
Political Opinions are
learned

From mom and dad


Teachers/schools
Education
Friends
Experiences and
relationships

Other Factors
Weight of each factor
that influences public
opinion depends on
the issue

Mass Media
Peer groups
Opinion leaders
Historic events

Other Factors:
Means of communication
that reach large, widely
dispersed audiences
Television:
98% households = 1 T.V.
Turned on for 7 hours a
day

Peer Groups
People who you talk too
regularly
Reinforces what a person
has already come to
believe

Other Factors:

Opinion Leaders
A person who has unusually
strong influence on the views
of others (draw ideas and
conventions)
Hold public office
Newspapers
Magazines

Historical Events
Great Depression ( role of
government)
60s and 70s traumatic
events; resignation of Nixon
Evaluated trustworthiness of
government

Measuring Public Opinion

Measuring Public Opinion

Elections
Voting
Lobbying
Books
Pamphlets
Editorial comments in the Press
Public Officials

Measuring Public Opinion


Elections
Results are indicator of Public Opinion?
Peoples approval/rejection
Parties claim a mandate
Refers to the instructions or commands a constituency
gives its elected officials

Elections are, at best, only useful indicators of


public opinion.
Represents only a GENERAL directions
parties should take

Measuring Public Opinion


Interest Groups:
Private organizations whose members share
certain views and objectives and work to
shape making and the content of public policy

The Media
mirrors or molders
Reflect only the views of the vocal majority

Measuring Public Opinion


Personal Contacts
read the publics mind
voice of the people?
Contacts with the public

Poll- the Best Measure


Straw vote is a method of polling that
seeks to read the publics mind simply
by asking the same question of a large
number of people.
The straw-vote technique is highly
unreliable, however.

Poll- the Best Measure


Scientific Polling
Serious efforts to take the publics pulse
on a scientific basis date from the 1930s.
There are now more than 1,000 national
and regional polling organizations in this
country, with at least 200 of these polling
political preferences.

The Polling Process


Five things pollsters must do
Define the universe to be surveyed
Construct a sample
Prepare valid questions
Select and control how the poll will be taken
Analyze and report their findins to the public

Polling Process
Defining the Universe
Whole population the poll aims to measure
Every high school student in Georgia
Atlanta voters

Constructing a Sample
A representative slice of the total universe
Random samples
1500 people

Quota sample
Sample deliberately constructed to reflect several of the
major characteristics of a given universe

Polling Process
Preparing Valid Questions
Wording can affect the reliability of any poll
Should local taxes be reduced?
Should the citys police force be increased to
fight rising tide of crime in our community?
Ask loaded questions, emotionally charged
words, terms that are difficult to understand

Polling Process
Interviewing
Telephone: calls are placed randomly chosen
area codes around the nation
Less labor intensive/less expensive
Tone of voice
Emphasis given to certain words
Responses are given to please the pollster

Polling Process
Analyze and Report findings
Collect huge amounts of raw data
Computers
Other election hardware
Tabulate and interpret data; draw conclusions;
report findings

Evaluating Polls
Most national and regional polls are fairly
reliable. (they are far from perfect.)
Potential problems with polls
Inability to measure the intensity, stability, and
relevance of the opinions they report.
polls and pollsters sometimes shape the
opinions they are supposed to measure.

Limits on the Impact of


Public Opinion
Public opinion is the major, but by no
means the only, influence on public policy
in this country.
American political system is designed to
protect minority interests against the
excesses of majority views and actions.
Polls are not elections, nor are they
substitutes for elections.

The Role of Mass Media


Medium
Means of communication; transmits some
kind of information
Four Major Kinds in US

Television
Newspaper
Radio
Magazines

Internet is increasing more important every


year.replacing newspapers

The Role of Mass Media


Presents people with
political information
Directly in news
reports
Less direct: radio,
television, newspaper
stories, magazine
articles

Role of Mass Media


Television:
Replaced Newspapers as the principal source
of political information
NBC, ABC, CBS
Others: CNN, PBS, etc

Newspapers:
Freedom of Press
# of papers continues to Decline with rise of
internet

Role of Mass Media


Radio:
1930s Major entertainment and political
information center
President F. Roosevelt: 1st to use radio
effectively
20 hours of radio a week
Talk Radio
Political commentaries

Role of Mass Media


Magazines:
12,000 published in
U.S. today
Time, Newsweek, U.S.
News and World
Report

The Media and Politics


Public Agenda
Societal problems that the nations political
leaders and the general public agree need
government attention
Focus public on a particular issue
Dont tell you what to think but what to think
about
Political leaders pay close attention to Media

Electoral Politics
Make candidates less dependent on party
organizations
Appeal directly to the people
Create their own image
Strategy:
Take no more than a minute or two of air time
Show people doing something interesting and exciting
Sound Bites: snappy reports that can be aired 30-45
seconds