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A national probability sample of more than a thousand Canadians was interviewed regarding the use of public opinion in governance. Questions were asked similar to those used with the elite sample. The public do think that public opinion has many important functions in governance, but they are not sure whether it is well used in practice. Also, many of the public are not convinced that conventional polls and surveys are highly reliable. However, they still have a reasonable level of confidence in conventional methods of studying opinion.
The most interesting results are found in a regression analysis exploring the predictors of public views of public opinion in governance. It is found that there are major differences in the views of men and women. It is also found that people of higher socioeconomic status may be more likely to have a skeptical view of the value and accuracy of public opinion and its applications in managing government.
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- A Note on Mass Opinion Relating to the Role of Public Opinion in Governing
Scott Edward Bennett