Public Opinion

Spread the love

Umaira Khan
Public Opinion consists of the desires, wants and thinking of the majority of the people. It is the collective opinion of the people of a society or state on an issue or problem. It is confused, incoherent, amorphous, varying from day to day and week to week. It is the sum of individuals opinions and as opinion of individuals changes over time due to various factors like experience, knowledge, age and environment similarly public opinion also change with time. It must be kept in mind that the basic distinction between modern and earlier states lies in the influence and effect of public opinion. A modern democracy is called a government by public opinion. How is Public opinion formed? According to lord Bryce there are three classes of persons who have to do with making of public opinion. First class is thinkers and public leaders. Those are people who seriously occupy themselves with public affairs and devote their lives mostly in the study and solutions of national problems and public affairs. They may be professional politicians, legislators, or journalists. Their number is always small but their importance is great. As it they who make public opinion and they know the real facts. They think out byword of mouth or pen, the arguments meant to influence the public. They use the press and other platforms to communicate their views and opinions to others. Second class consists of those who also take interest in politics. They read the daily newspaper and political literature; listen to public speeches and to radio and TV show; use social media. They form judgments upon the facts and arguments presented tothem. Their judgment corrects and modifies the views of the first class. Most of thepersons of this class are not partisans. They are ready to listen to eh views and opinions of opposite parties and considers fairly both sides of the question. Due to their impartiality and non partisanship, their opinion is the public opinion at its best. Third class includes all the remaining masses of people who are generally indifferent to public affairs, reading little and thinking less about them. They simply borrow or adopt their opinions from the other two classes or from the place or social class to which they belong. Man of this class will now and then be attracted by the personality of a leader or fascinated by a movement. They will follow a leader not because they understand his politics or performance but because they like some of his qualities or because they are sentimentally attached to his personality or movement. This group is usually very large in number. In a parliamentary democracy, it is at least as large as the electorate. This is one of the weakness of democracy as well as majority of people give their votes based on their sentiments and emotions and not on performance or policy. A clever demagogue can easily fool the majority by using emotions of public cleverly. Why it important to measure public opinion? All modern governments seek to measure public opinion as they want to know the popularity of their decisions in public. Public opinion enables them to formulate theirpolicies. Beside this, political parties want to know public opinion on various public issues so that they base their narrative on public sentiments and desires as their end goal is to get as many votes as possible in elections. Opponents and Enemies especially from foreign governments carefully study public opinion with a view to judge and influence the chances of a revolt or revolutions. They use social media and other such sources to influence the public opinion. Fifth generation war is a special term used for such acts. Fake social media trends are made using fake social media accounts, propaganda videos are upload on various social media accounts and many such acts are performed in order to influence public opinion. Commercial firms, corporations, banks and marketing companies study public opinion for marketing their good, and to judge consumer preferences.

Similar Posts