p. 194p. 1959. Communication and public opinion
- Andrew Blick
This chapter discusses the way in which political ideas are put forward and relates this to the forming and mobilization of political opinions. It looks the forms of communication used, the means of ‘media’ for transmission; the approach that political parties and government take towards it; and the influence it can exert from within the democratic system. The chapter looks at how people transmit information and how organizations do too. An important element of this discussion is how people form political opinions in the first place and how they make decisions based on them. A key question is: how can the right to vote be used to transmit and impact a political view point? The chapter also examines the role of social media and recent phenomena such as ‘fake news’. It also asks: how can public opinion be measured? The chapter provides a number of theoretical perspectives and real-life examples: the ‘Leveson Inquiry’ of 2011–12 and what it revealed about political communication and the online parliamentary petitioning process. Finally, the chapter explores a debate about whether the Internet has made political communication more supportive of democracy.