All Subjects



AP Gov



Unit 4

4.5 Measuring Public Opinion

1 min readjune 16, 2020

Isabela Padilha Vilela

Definition of Public Opinion 

Public Opinion is defined through surveys which indicate the preferences of a certain population in regards to a specific issue. By measuring public opinion it is possible to know the amount of people (or percentage) in a population that holds certain opinions about the issue at hand, or even the ones that do not hold any opinions! 💬
These polls and surveys can measure support and the dissent of several different issues, such as the amount of support a candidate for the presidency has, or the opinions on a recently implemented public policy. They are important to maintain a democratic form of government. 

Important Characteristics 

  • Random Sample - It gives all individuals the equal amount of chance for being picked to participate in a poll. 
    • Random-digit dialing - Computer generates numbers to be selected at random. 
    • Exit polls - Interviews administered at the end of polls. 
  • Margin of Error 🚫- the range in which the results of the poll/survey can have accurate results. 
  • Phrasing of questions - The way that questions are formulated can influence the results of a survey. 
    • Open-ended - Questions that allow participants to respond with their own words.  
  • Universe - It is the target group of people whose opinions are measured.

Was this guide helpful?

💪🏽 Are you ready for the US Gov exam?
Take this quiz for a progress check on what you’ve learned this year and get a personalized study plan to grab that 5!
Hours Logo
Studying with Hours = the ultimate focus mode
Start a free study session
FREE AP gov Survival Pack + Cram Chart PDF
Sign up now for instant access to 2 amazing downloads to help you get a 5
Browse Study Guides By Unit
Exam Skills (MC, FRQ)
Free Response Questions (FRQ)
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy
Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government
Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Unit 5: Political Participation
Join us on Discord
Thousands of students are studying with us for the AP US Government exam.
join now
📱 Stressed or struggling and need to talk to someone?
Talk to a trained counselor for free. It's 100% anonymous.
Text FIVEABLE to 741741 to get started.
© 2021 Fiveable, Inc.