By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Define public opinion and political socialization
- Explain the process and role of political socialization in the U.S. political system
- Compare the ways in which citizens learn political information
- Explain how beliefs and ideology affect the formation of public opinion
The collection of public opinion through polling and interviews is a part of American political culture. Politicians want to know what the public thinks. Campaign managers want to know how citizens will vote. Media members seek to write stories about what Americans want. Every day, polls take the pulse of the people and report the results. And yet we have to wonder: Why do we care what people think?