Public opinion is one of the major concerns of each politician. The polls, which are taken on the sample from population, are reliable sources of people's opinions. Our private point of view may be shared by many others and then if this is noticed by politicians they should be aware of that. They can use it for their own purposes like building a political platform with the help from the polls information, or ignore it with the danger that it may someday turn against them. The people's reaction on recent events is also tested in public opinion polls. The politicians examine them very carefully because it is, as well as election, kind of a grading system showing voter's attitudes towards specific issues.
Most of the people from New York City noticed the rising of police brutality (despite official's efforts to cover it), which ended up with incidents like the killing of the unarmed man by four police officers. Politicians have to be aware of people's feelings about this case. Although there was not any real reform in the police department, in the coming election this will become one of the major issues. If somebody wants to be elected he will present his way of dealing with this problem. Right now it may seem that this killing did not make any general changes, but in my opinion, the New York's public realized that something must be changed in the NYPD.
Even though there is nothing going on now, people will remember to the next election that their candidates must come out with resolutions for police brutality. The impact of public opinion (shown in the polls) made politicians aware that something must be done. People believe that if they want more safety they might have cases with some violations of civil rights. The mayor promised that he would be able to keep a balance between those two poles. Recent polls are saying that this is not working. There were too many incidences with the police abusing thei rights.
Public opinion wants changes in the programs of keeping the crime low. And it will be done because of the impact of public opinion on political life. Politicians do not always do what the polls tell them. Sometimes people change their attitudes and there are ways to do that. In the last election to the congress, even though polls showed that people are no longer interesting in the president's affair, republicans decided to highlight this case in their campaign. To change people attitudes they made TV commercials showing a lying president.
It was too much for the voters, already tired with all that was going on in this case. These commercials were republican's the biggest mistake during the campaign. They lost votes because public opinion decided that it does not want to be shown any more "dirt." This is an example of misjugement of public opinion and the results were a loss of votes. Politicians may or may not follow people's attitudes shown in polls but they are under our control all the time, and sooner or later they must do what the majority wants or they will lost the election.
This is the biggest influence of public opinion; it shapes all political life. Rafal Szczurowski.