Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

It is argued that public policy reflects public opinion. Do you agree with this statement? Please explain your answer.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

On its surface, this statement does seem logical, and of course, many legislators wish to satisfy their constituents when drafting policy. The problem with such a simple statement is that it doesn't allow for the complexity of this issue. It also ignores a central dilemma: public policy will never be able to fully reflect public opinion because public opinion is diverse.

It cannot even be said that public policy reflects the majority public opinion. For example, many polls reflect that the majority of Americans are in favor of moderate gun safety reform laws, but the laws have tended to remain entrenched and unchanged. This is partly due to powerful lobbying on the part of gun manufacturers and the NRA. Public policy is a combination of a response to public opinion and to political agendas and lobbying efforts.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team