Perception of the term “public” has undergone a complex historical development. In very simple terms “it gradually turned from the original meaning of public as a social elite consisting of independent, educated and committed citizens to the concept of plural publics, which are often a synonym for all public.” (Rendlová, Lebeda, 2002: 9). According to the Big Dictionary of Sociology the term public is currently understood as “a larger part of the society (or nation, people) involved in the outcomes of economic and social activities with a more general effect, in the solution of a certain social problem, or in social events as such.
” (1996: 1382).
Sociology usually surveys responses or opinions as a public product – the so-called public opinion – in the form of quantitative standardized questionnaire researches on a representative sample of the population. In this context we talk about a public opinion poll. In this concept the public opinion poll is empirically processed as a sum of individual attitudes and opinions.