Problems Associated With Public Opinion

Problems Associated With Public Opinion

The are problems that are often associated with public opinion and it’s measurement in general. For instance, people like to look good. They are prone to answer questions from pollsters in ways that make them look good. Also, another example is that public opinion poll results depend on the way a questions are worded. Let’s take a look at some of the other problems that people often associate with public opinion.

1. It is not easy to determine public opinion:

It is not certain what exactly constitutes public opinion. It could also be that what constitutes public opinion may not be a proper representation of the opinions of the general population but rather the opinion of just a few but vocal elements in the society.

2. It could stifle national development:

In a country that boasts of its democratic credentials, public opinion can stifle the development of a nation. This happens especially when the government of the day always listens to the opinions of the people and attempts to act on all the differing opinions of the public.

3. It could lead to frequent changes in government policies:

In order to appear to be democratic, some governments listen and bow to the opinions of the people too often. This creates a problem where the government is compelled to change policies too frequently. Consequently, the development of the country can suffer for this.

4. It could promote manipulation by governments

The government of the day can use the state media to manipulate the will of the ruling government to appear as the opinion of the people. This is especially easy where the government controls the state media outlets and is able to influence the private media if they exist.

5. It could cause threats to state security

Some government decisions have security implications for the state. Therefore, if the public wants their opinion on every policy including those with security connotations, to be taken into consideration, the security of the state may be jeopardized. 

6. It could be slow during crisis

In times is serious emergencies, the government needs to take swift action. If government decides to wait for the opinion of the people before it acts, it may endanger the security of the nations. This is because public opinion formation and measurement can be very slow when speed is required. If there is an outbreak disease, for example, government must needs take quick decision to contain the situation. That is not the time to wait for public opinion to form.

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