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Public Opinion and Mass Media
Guide: Origins of Political Opinion

This collection of resources focuses on the various factors that combine to create individuals' political opinions. Use these resources to support students' exploration of how economics, family background, education, and other influences shape the way people view political issues. 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

  • Identify two key factors that are likely to shape an individual's views of public policy. How do those factors drive public opinion?
  • U.S. government is meant to be of, for, and by the people; in light of this, to what extent do you think legislators should take public opinion into account when making laws and running the government? Explain your answer.


  1. Overview: Origins of Political Opinion
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Importance of Public Opinion
  6. Lesson: 2-Political Socialization
  7. Lesson: 3-Political Opinion: Change over Time
  8. Lesson: Closing
  9. Glossary Terms: party identification
  10. Glossary Terms: political socialization
  11. Glossary Terms: public opinion
  12. Glossary Terms: political ideology
  13. Photos & Illustrations: Civil rights: Freedom Riders protest segregation
  14. Photos & Illustrations: Health care reform demonstration (2009)
  15. Reference Articles: Political Philosophy: Conservativism
  16. Reference Articles: Political Philosophy: Liberalism
  17. Reference Articles: Political Philosophy: Libertarianism
  18. Speeches: Roosevelt, Franklin D.: Fireside Chat on the New Deal (1933)
  19. Speeches: Cronkite, Walter: Criticism of U.S. policy (1968)

MLA Citation

"Origins of Political Opinion." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2156176. Accessed 23 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2156176

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