What are the political implications of the public’s apparent preference or lack of a preference?  

Public Opinion Homework Assignment


Visit the Gallup website, Polling Report.com or The Pew Research Center at one of the following addresses:




Scroll through the list of issues.  Select an issue of interest to you.

NOTE:  Gallup.com requires you to pay for access to certain data– I recommend that you only use data that are provided free of charge.

Read through the polling data and the analysis of the polling data (if there is any) and answer the questions below.

1. Is there a clear public preference regarding this issue?  If so, what is it?  Why do you think this is the case? If not, why do you think there is no clear preference?

2.  Does this preference (or lack of a preference) seem to be consistent with recent policies?  Explain.

3. What are the political implications of the public’s apparent preference or lack of a preference?

4.  What are the political implications of the public’s attitudes regarding this issue?

5.  Are there any surprises in terms of the public’s attitudes regarding the issue?

6. Has there been any noticeable change in public opinion regarding this issue over time?  In recent years, what has this change been?  Why do you think it has occurred?


In your initial posting, give a one paragraph overview of the data that you reviewed for the homework assignment.   Be sure to highlight what you think are the most important/interesting findings.  In a second paragraph, discuss what you think the political implications are of the public’s attitudes on this issue.

· For example, in the PowerPoint presentation I mentioned that typically a majority of the population disapproves of the Congress as a whole, but approves of their individual representatives.  This is surprising given the depth of the negative attitudes about Congress.  The implications might be that since people only vote for their representatives, the Congress is not likely to change very much in the future.  So we probably should not expect to see much of a shift in the level of satisfaction with Congress – at least not a shift for the better.

In addition to your initial post, each of you must also respond to at least two other student posts (each of these posts must relate to different issues).  Within your response you should address at least one of the following questions:

What are the political implications of these attitudes? Explain.

What did you find surprising about the results of the survey?  Explain why this is surprising.