Public Opinion Polls Persuasive Essay by Poli Sci Guy

Public Opinion Polls
This paper argues that the role of the public in politics should be limited.
# 99674 | 4,005 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2007 | US

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This paper discusses George Gallup's belief in the collective wisdom of the general public and their ability to govern in a democracy. The paper argues that due to the inherent limitations of the public to form quality public opinions, the public is not fit to play a direct role in a democracy. The paper then examines public opinion polls, the primary tool for the general public to govern in a democracy. The paper argues that polls have a number of methodological deficiencies that make their findings too questionable to be used as a way to adequately measure public opinion. MLA style endnotes are used in this paper in place of a bibliography.

From the Paper:

"George Gallup, a pioneer of public opinion polling, believed in the collective wisdom of everyday citizens. He distrusted intellectuals and experts, and thought elite rule and democratic government were incompatible. The challenge for democracy, as he saw it, was "Shall the common people be free to express their basic needs and purposes, or shall they be dominated by a small ruling clique?" Essentially, how does one make those holding high public office responsive to the needs and wishes to the public? Gallup's answer: polls. Public polls, he argued, could be considered a "mandate from the people," a concrete expression of the policies the public desires the government to enact. Polls therefore allow for a more responsive, direct form of representative democracy. Importantly, behind Gallup's views lie two primary presumptions of the public and the use of public opinion as the basis for a democratic system: first, that the people are in fact capable of forming a quality public opinion, and second, that opinion polls are capable of accurately measuring this opinion."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Herbert Asher, Polling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should Know 6th ed. (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2004), 24.
  • Paul Blumberg,. Industrial Democracy: the Sociology of Participation (London: Constable, 1968).
  • James Bryce, The American Commonwealth (New York: Macmillan, 1891), 254.
  • Michael Delli Carpini, In Search of the Informed Citizen: What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters. The Transformation of Civic Life Conference, 12-13 November 1999. Nashville, Tennessee: Middle Tennessee State University.
  • Phillip Converse, The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics (Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1964), 100.

Cite this Persuasive Essay:

APA Format

Public Opinion Polls (2007, November 22) Retrieved June 05, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Public Opinion Polls" 22 November 2007. Web. 05 June. 2020. <>