Public opinion, as the state of mass consciousness, which embodies the ratio of (hidden or explicit) people to events and facts of social reality and to the various groups and individuals. Public opinion appears in the expressive, supervisory, consultative and decision-making function – takes a stand, give advice or render a decision on certain public issues. Depending on the content of expressions of public opinion, it is expressed by evaluative, analytical and constructive opinions. Public opinion governs the behavior of individuals, social groups and institutions in society, developing or assimilating (borrowing from science, ideology, religion, etc.) and imposes certain norms of social relations. Finally, depending on the sign utterances public opinion appears in the form of positive or negative judgments.
Public opinion is valid in almost all spheres of society. However, the boundaries of his opinions are quite clear. As the object of public statements, it serves only to those facts and real events that cause public concern, different currency and relevance.
Public opinion acts as within society as a whole and within different classes and social groups. In this sense we can speak not only about public opinion throughout the country, but also of public opinion, for example, working-class youth of the republic or region, people of one profession, employees of the company, the members of this organization, etc. With respect to the mentioned communities support (the subject), public opinion can act as a community as a whole and its constituent entities, any (group) – regardless of the content of their judgments on whether they indicate whether they are “for” or “against” form if they “most” or “minority.” Accordingly, its structure public opinion may be monistic, the unanimous and pluralistic, consisting of a number do not match each other point of view, as described in Public opinion.
In each case, content and other characteristics of public opinion (the degree of homogeneity, sign statements, etc.) are determined by several factors – the structure (primarily social) in favor of generality, the degree of convergence of interests of its member of various groups, the nature of the question, etc. The formation and functioning of public opinion may occur spontaneously, regardless of the activity of various social institutions, but more often they are the result of purposeful action various government agencies, political organizations, research centers and others.
In a developed society, the usual channels (and forms) expression of public opinion are: government elections, popular participation in the legislative and executive activities of the press and other mass media, meetings, demonstrations, etc. Along with this widespread and statements they have also caused political, research, etc. interest and taking the form of referendums mass discussion of any problems, professional meetings, sample population surveys, etc.
Activity performance and the actual value of public opinion in society are determined by existing social conditions – the universal associated with the character of production relations and class structure of society, the level of development of productive forces, culture, etc., and specific, relating to the development of democratic institutions and freedoms, especially freedom of expression – speech, press, assembly, and demonstrations.
Today, the development of public opinion polling and survey research is extremely important for the companies. As well, the opinion data are used and the consequences of them differ. It may be of a particular interest to specific areas of work and research. Opinions are calculated and then evaluated.