What is the benefit of an opinion poll?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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An opinion poll can be very helpful to an elected official or to a candidate running for office. Opinion polls tell elected officials or candidates what the public believes about an issue. This can be very helpful. For example, if an elected official is thinking about having a referendum to exceed the tax levy, it would help that official to know what the public thinks about it. If the public is overwhelmingly against it, it may not be worth the time and effort to consider the referendum. The poll may indicate what strategies should be used to convince the public why the idea is a good one should the official decide to pursue the idea.

Public opinion polls help candidates shape their positions on policies. If the public was very against an idea or concept, the candidate would be wise to stay clear of that idea, or at least not to emphasize it too much. If a candidate misreads public opinion, that could sink that candidate’s bid to get elected or reelected. Public opinion polls provide valuable information to candidates and/or elected officials.

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