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Finding and Using Data

Public opinion can be defined broadly as the collective views of people in a society. It is a complicated concept that takes into account the opinions of individual citizens, groups, and elites. Public opinion is publicized through the media, often by pundits who promulgate elite views.

Public opinion is often made concrete through questions asked on polls. Politicians routinely cite public opinion polls to justify their support of or opposition to public policies. Candidates use public opinion strategically to establish themselves as front-runners or underdogs in campaigns. Interest groups and political parties use public opinion polls to promote their causes. The mass media incorporate reports of public opinion into news story about government and politics.

(Source: https://open.lib.umn.edu/americangovernment/chapter/7-1-what-is-public-opinion/