Public opinion plays a vital role in modern democracy. Infact democracy has been defined as government by public consent or government responsive to public opinion. Even in dictatorship, government attaches much importance to public opinion. Public is defined as the expression of all those members of a group who are given attention in any way to a given issue. Opinions maybe reflected in an election, a policy decision of formal legislative enactment.
Public opinion is a tremendous social and political force not be ignored in the modern world. All parties give greater importance to public opinion. They feel that the money invested to create public opinion is good for them and the country.
Success of any government depends upon how it wins the opinion of the people. Vigilant public opinion is necessary for a successful democracy. Public opinion very much limits the power of rulers. Decision taken against public opinion will be detrimental to party and the government in power.
Peoples capacity to think
Interest of people in national problem
Formation of groups
Initiative by political leaders.
Role of writers.
Homogeneity and community interest.
There is a greater contrast between public opinion in western countries and that of in backward countries. In the West people are well educated and so strong public opinion can be easily formed. This is not the case in backward countries of Asia and Africa.
In India most of the people live in villages. Difficulties of means of transport and communication have virtually insolated them and there can be no question of having any opinion of their own. Generally public opinion emerges in big cities and towns.
Political parties concentrate on cities and leave most of rural areas untouched. Only during election they go to the villages and thrust their opinion among villagers who blindly follow. In India issues are judged not on their merits but on religious, caste and other considerations. This tendency has to be rectified. Significance of public opinion lies in its ability to influence the government.