Posted by / Tuesday 5 April 2016 / No comments

The advantages of Public Opinion Polls

An opinion poll involves the use of a 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 is saying what on a particular issue.

Keeps Government Officials in Line
Sometimes, the pronouncement of government officials indicates 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 polls are conducted and the results 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 the election were held on that 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 government policy could be 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. The government uses public opinion polls to arrive at the decision whether to change policy directions or not.

Tests Acceptability of a Government Policy
A government 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 well or otherwise it would be received. If therefore, there is a need for some fine-tuning before it could be accepted, the government then makes such amendments before the policy is finally announced.

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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