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Public Opinion and Mass Media
Guide: Defining and Measuring Public Opinion

This collection of resources brings together content exploring the ways that public opinion can be determined and assessed. These resources can be used to help guide students' learning about how public opinion polls work and the role they play in American society. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • A government's structure determines how political parties will form and operate
  • Political parties strongly influence the operation of democratic governments
  • Media, public opinion, and policy are interrelated in a democracy
  • The type of media a public consumes influences their understanding of policy and government action
  • Interest groups can be both an effective citizen tool for expression and, if too powerful, a threat to democracy
  • Voting rules and regulations affect election outcomes
  • Interpreting campaign contributions as free speech allows those with money greater access to lawmakers

Key Questions

  • Why is it important for politicians to try to measure public opinion?
  • What dangers are created by labeling people a certain way when measuring public opinion?


  1. Overview: Defining and Measuring Public Opinion
  2. Visuals: Defining and Measuring Public Opinion (Visual)
  3. Outline: Outline
  4. Transcript: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Scientific Polling
  7. Lesson: 2-Challenges of Creating an Accurate Poll
  8. Lesson: 3-Labels in Polling
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Glossary Terms: focus group
  11. Glossary Terms: opinion poll
  12. Photos & Illustrations: Gallup Poll (1947)
  13. Reference Articles: Campaign Polling
  14. Reference Articles: opinion polling and elections
  15. Reference Articles: Political Opinion Polls, Types of
  16. Reference Articles: Political Polls, Quality of
  17. Reference Articles: Vietnam War, U.S. Public Opinion toward
  18. Biographies: Gallup, George

MLA Citation

"Defining and Measuring Public Opinion." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156147. Accessed 23 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2156147

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