Virtual Kollage: The advantages of Public Opinion Polls

Posted by / Tuesday, 5 April 2016 / No comments

The advantages of Public Opinion Polls



OPINION POLLS
Definition
An opinion poll involves the use of a certain representative number of people and asking them specific questions on particular issues. Their responses are then scientifically analyzed to arrive at what percentage of people are saying what on a particular issue. 

ADVANTAGES OF OPINION POLLS
Keeps Government Officials in Line
Sometimes, the pronouncement of government officials indicate that they are far removed from the real issues on the ground. So their policies tend to be out of line, not serving the interest of the people. Public opinion poll helps to put back such government official in line.
 
Helps political parties 
Opinion polls are useful to political parties in many ways. When opinions are conducted and released, political parties are able to determine how well or otherwise they shall perform at the polls. Where the results show that they shall lose the next election, the party concerned goes into action to try to change the tide. Where it shows that they shall win, the party concerned then consolidate it hold so as to ensure the predicted victory.

Determines Public Perception of Government
Public opinion polls are sometimes used to determine the popularity of a government. Specific questions are put to respondents to state whether they will vote for the current government if election were held on theat day. The responses are scientifically analyzed and a determination made as to the popularity of the government.

Important Tool for Democracy
A public opinion poll can be used as a means to allow the public to express their views on issues. This is useful for democracy because democracy itself allows for the expression of the views of the people through periodic elections, referendums, recalls, demonstrations, strikes etc. 
Amendment of Government Policies
The acceptability or otherwise of a government policy could exposed through public opinion polls. The government of the day can change a policy direction if it sees that its policy is not acceptable to the people. Government uses public opinion polls to arrive at the decision whether to change policy directions or not.

Tests Acceptability of a Government Policy
A governments could commission an opinion poll to test whether a policy it is about to roll out would be accepted by the people. So even before the policy is rolled out, the government knows how ell or otherwise it would be received. If, therefore, there is the need for some fine tuning before it could be accepted, the government then makes such amendments before the policy is finally announced.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. a What is public opinion poll? [2 marks]
    b. Highlight five advantages of opinion polls. [10 marks]
2. Examine six advantages of opinion polls [12 marks]
3. Discuss three advantages and three disadvantages of opinion polls. [12 marks]





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