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Lesson Note

Subject: Government

Topic: Public Opinion

Learning Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to;

  1. Define the term public opinion;
  2. State and explain ways public opinion can be formed;
  3. Determine how public opinion is measured;
  4. Identify the factors that enhance public opinion;
  5. State the benefits of public opinion;
  6. State the disadvantages or weaknesses of public opinion.

Lesson Discussion

Public Opinion

Public opinion can be defined as the expressed views of majority of citizens on government policies and programmes.

Formation Of Public Opinion

Public opinion is moulded and formed true different agencies as stated and discussed below;

  • Mass media: the most media include radio television newspapers magazines posters handbills. They provide people with information and therefore help in the formation or changing of public opinion.
  • Political Parties: Political parties lectures, symposia, public the bits help to form public opinion.
  • Pressure groups: the analysis of use of pressure Bruce on government policies and programmes influence the thought of this citizens on helps in the formation of public opinion.
  • Influential citizens: well Dion dedicated individuals into society can help in the formation of public opinion. Call h&r euless notable politicians academics and business tycoon I examples of influential citizens.
  • Government ministers and agencies: government ministry of information and national orientation helps to educate this citizens about government policies and programmes.
  • Gossips and rumors: false information which are spread by idle persons and mischief makers help people to form their opinions on certain government policies and programmes.
  • Custom And Norms: Depot scheduled also if lenses the thoughts. Acceptable with principles of doing certain things based on traditional beliefs of people help in the formation of public opinion.
  • Ideological inclination of the country: the ideology which could either be socialist, capitalist, in nature helps to form public opinion.

Measurement of public opinion

  • Public opinion can be determined through peoples opinions expressed in the mass media, opinions raised from newspapers, magazines, radio, television etc.
  • Public opinion can be measured mass protests and demonstrations for or against government policies.
  • Public opinion can be determined through random sampling of opinions expressed on phones in live television and radio programs.
  • Interviews questionnaire and survey can be used to measure public opinion as well.
  • Public opinion can be measured through the outcome of an election.the result of an election could help to determine how popular or unpopular a government and its policies are.
  • It can also be measured through opinions expressed at public hearing.
  • public opinion can be determined through face-to-face interaction between people and their political leaders.

Factors That Enhance Public Opinions

Literacy Level: the educational background of citizens is very necessary for understanding government policies and programmes and articulately expresses their opinions.
Free Press: this will also help in health information and measurement of public opinions as people express themselves without restriction.
Guarantee Of Fundamental Human Rights: The granting of rights such as right to association expression and speech help people to express their opinions.
Democratic Environment: Public opinions driveway in a democratic environment where rule of law is practiced.
Information Centre: The establishment and functioning of information agencies such as public complaints berea that help to receive and investigate old complaints from the citizens can also facilitate public opinions.
Positive Response To Public Opinion: When are giant steps are taken to address the complaints of citizens by government, many citizens would be encouraged to express their views.

Benefits Or Advantages Of Public Opinions

  • Public opinions help government to know what the people think about it policies and programmes.
  • they help the government to know what the names of the people are and how to meet those needs.
  • Public opinions when strictly adhered to help to douse tension against the government.
  • public opinion serve as the major channel through which people can express themselves to government.
  • public opinions help to ginger government and its agencies to effective and efficient performance.
  • also public opinion help voters to make wise choice and vote for popular candidates.

Weaknesses Or Disadvantages Of Public Opinions

  1. Uncontrolled protests and complaints against government policies and actions can result in political instability.
  2. What is often referred to as public opinion is nothing but personal views and interests of influential figures in a society.
  3. Public opinions can mislead government into taking decisions that are not favorable to the masses.
  4. Public opinions are often manipulated by the mass media to fit into their interest or the interest of a section of the country.
  5. Also in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria for example, it is often difficult to ascertain public opinions.

Done studying? See previous lessons in government

Take a quick test for this lesson. See previousus lessons in government

  1. What is public opinion?
  2. Mention six ways by which public opinionU can be formed.
  3. Discuss the factors that enhance the effectiveness of public opinions.

Questions answered correctly? Kudos!

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