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Entman and Herbst Reframing Public Opinion as We know It 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

5. Those invoking public opinion seem usually to mean the comprhensibe preferences of the majority of individuals on an issue. There are many well-known problems with the assumptions built into such readings of the publics sentiments. Among the sources of these uncertainties are: measurements problems contradictions in beliefs sentiments based in datable perception that with alteration of majority change radically aggregation dilemas (i.g,. the indeterminancy of majority opinion as soon as we consider trade offs among more than two issues at the same time), and non attitudes (i.g. , the absence of real opinions about many issues) When people invoke public opinion, then, they selectively highlight some elemtns of the difficult-to-know reality of individuals thinking and omit lots of others. The current medya systema, because it gathers elites and mass publics into a common information space that largely highlights and repeats the same themes, facilitates this framing process and thus a sense that public opinion is a meaningful concept We cannot know public opinion definitevely, via either surveys or other forms of evidente, which are at least as problematic and subject to framing. But this doesnt mean the opinions of ordinary members of the public are irrelvant to the democratic process, or that media have no real influence on them. We identify four referents of the term public opinion. They are more consistenly knowable, they are influences by mass media, and the affect government The four referents of public opinion are NOT, the only possible forms of public opinion and this simple classifcation does not reflect the long intellectual history of combat over the meaning of public opinion. Its just a way of aproaching to the concept.

1) MASS OPINION This is the aggregate or summation of individual prefferences as tabulated through opinion polls, referenda or elections. It is simply the will of all; the result of adding citizen opinions together, regardeless of how informed or tightly held these belief happen to be. Mass opinion is useful in some instances, when details are within the comprehension of most, but on many other issues, lack of understand about all aspects of the issue prevents typical citizens from producing a considered opinion. Mass opinion, then, is problematic because it is not informed opinion. There are some respondents in a typycal opinion poll who are the kinds of citizen we apllaud in democratic theorizing ( well informed, motivated to learn about policy, and engaged in argumentation with colleges, friends and neighbours) but most respondents are not ideal citizens, and indeed the uneven information among citizens skew results of opinion polls.

Indeed, polls might be quite malleable because it is not a typical reflective of thoughfull opinion. The media, in particular, have great ability to shape mass opinion through framing issues in particular ways but nevertheless the mass opinion is unstable and superficial. La opinion publica es inestable y desinformada. 2) ACTIVATED PUBLIC OPINION These are the opinions of engaged, informed, and organizad citizens, those who ae mobilizable during campaing periods and between elections as well. Eg: party loyalists, locla community activists, interest groups, spokespersons, opinion leaders, and other who pay close attention to political realm. Some say that people with power and resources, closely engaged in politics, compose the public opinion that matters. Interesintgly, the media are not as influential on the politically engaged because they have strong opinions, formed with consideration and tied to coherent and deeply felt ideology.Unlike mass opinion, which is more likely swayed by the mass media. Highly educated and informed citizens are most often resistant to messages coming from media. The problem is that this activated people is a small numer of citizens. The ideal public sphere would be teeming with active citizens but this ideal state is not what weve got. Yet, if we are to understand the policy-making process, active publics are the ones to watch, and activated public opinion is the entity to measure . Active citizens are the ones most often getting represented. Interest groups, for example, are skilled at some sort of issues while most residents might be unware. La opinion publica es poco representativa. 3) LATENT PUBLIC OPINION Latent opinion is what people truly feel beneath all the chaos and shifting opinion we see in the heat of the democratic practice.The most successful leaders are those who can sense lantent opinion, who understand the dynamics of public opinion beneath the discursive chaos. The problem is that this form of opinion is difficult to measure but we undestand that is different from mass opinions and matters quite a lot in the policy making process. From out perspective, perhaps is the most important form of public opinion. One possibility of measuring is linked to culture, that is, underlying values and norms, that might help us to predict with more accuracy where the public opinion may end up, after the dust of a heated policiy debate settles. Still, the study of culture is complex and we will have to use other fields models such as sociology or anthropolgy. La opinion publica es dificil de medir 4) PERCEIVED MAJORITIES Perceived majorities are the pereptions held by most observers, including jorunalists, politicians, and members of the public themselved, of where the majority of the public stands on an issue. News reports do shape the majority opinions that are widely perceived to exist. If the media keep asserting that the public holds a particular view, the resulting perceptions of public desires . perceived majorities can shape actual

behaviour by government and citizens.There is no direct correlation between the majority sentiments widely perceived and reality of what had happened. Why typologies? These typologies underscore the dynamic nature of discourse about public opinion. As Habermas has so clearly demonstrated, public opinion is a moving, historically situated target, and our language for discussing it must therefore be complex, subtle and exacting. More over, we cannot focus only on one referent of public opinion or way of defining public opinions because we will be missing others and therefore miss their effects on the policitical process. REPRESENTATION OF PUBLIC OPINION Focus on the representation of public opinion; How well public opinion is represented? There are numerous studies in political science that choose a particular referent for public opinion often the agreggation of indiviualds opinions and then draw conclusions about broad opinion dynamics from there, building theory about democratic practie. However, there are other forms of public opinions and this essay would like to examine a case study: the influential article on represenation of public opinion in defense policy by Thomas Harley and Bruce Russett (1992). They link normative democratic theory with empircal data to ask Who governs military spending in the United Stated? They answer that public opinion helps govern. Harley and Russets study demonstrated the difficulty of reaching such a consluion, they neglet problems of meausrements, causality and variation. It also passes over the difficulties of agreggation idnividul respondes to identify a singular public opinion. Surveyed public support for defense spending drops as spending increases. These graph only underscored the complexity of generalizing about government responsiveness o public opinion their failure to detect a statistical relationship between actual level of defense spending and the publics preferred defense budgetary direciton raises and important puzzle. Problems of Surveys What we usually get in polls is opinion at the early stage, when the publics asnwers are ost unstable and susceptible to framing effects or changes. Surveys that regard as more or less governments spendings are not usefull always; questions directly posing trade-off would be preferable. Would you like to have a 3% increase on defesne and 3% on education and environment or a 6% inrease on defense and nothing on education and environment? ) The poll responde itself could not be interpreted a too little or too much response would appear menaningless if we assume respondents do not know or asses current spending levels. It appears unwarranted for Harley an Russet to assert that their results offer strong evidence that public opinion exerts independent influence over policy. To have strong evidence for public control, research would have to show that mass

opinion not only influences but is independent of elite pronouncements, govrnmet policy, and media messages. Yet, we are not arguing against the usefulnedd of surveying. We are not, and to disregard survey metholody as a way of sensing some aspect of public opinion would be wrongheaded. The challenge to opinion research is to discern the conditions in which different forms of public opinion matter and conditions inwhich they do not. The larger point is that public opinion inluded a variety of individual preferences and intensitites, contradictions and harmonies, which are varyingly susceptible to measuremente and aggregation. In this jumbled spiral, this double helix, of reciprocal influences, movements, and resistances among elites and mass public, empirical research should at minimum recognize that neither the publics actual individual preferences nor mass opinion registered in surveys change entirley independently. Research should begin exploring the possibiliy of a public and government locked in interdependent embarce but also we must recognize that untangling the relationships here is enormously difficult. Evidence for the independent influence of public opinion on policy, or for democratic control of government by the public, is likely to fall short. Thee is no one-to-one correspondence. The task facing scholars will be to make sense of the emerging public opinion systems, using a more differentiated conception of public opinion and a far broader range of sources and approaches than hitherto employed.