Public Support for Policies: Public Opinion and Policy Making

Increasing policy feasibility is a frequent argument for policyIncreasing policy feasibility is a frequent argument for policyrelevance of research on public attitudes to policies. Therefore,this text discusses the interlinkage of public opinion and thepolicy-making process. The text focuses on the role of publicopinion surveys as a source of information about public attitudestowards policies and policy instruments. Following a discussionof conditions of policy responsiveness related to pollmeasures of public support, public support is argued to emergefrom public opinion as a communication process or a processof social organization, rather than to reflect a collective state ofmind. As such, public support constitutes one of many possibleresults of the public opinion communication process – a resultwhich is temporary and thenceforth subject to the ongoingprocess. It is not reducible to survey responses as expressionsof individual attitudes toward policies, which present an oversimplifiedand partial picture of reality. Surveys, however, constitutean important source of information for researchers andpolicy makers. Therefore, we need to use and interpret themaccordingly. Some recommendations are proposed to improvethe current practice.

ISSN: 1214-438X
Year: 2018
Edition: 16
Volume: 2
Page: 9
Authors: Eva Kyselá
Citation: Kyselá, Eva. 2018. „Public Support for Policies: Public Opinion and Policy Making.“ Naše společnost 16 (2): 9‒27.


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