Public Opinion: Is It Stable or Malleable?

Public opinion is essential as it provides a foundation on which a democratic government is based. Public opinion being stable means that a particular ideology or viewpoint expressed at a particular time sustains for a long period. The idea that political elites have polarized the political arena in the U.S. indicates that public opinion regarding political parties has become stable over time. People will likely identify themselves as either republicans or democrats. These ideals have become popularized by political elites who use the media to present their ideologies.

The changing role of the media has increased partisanship among the citizens. The media has enhanced public opinion stability by spreading information that divides people among party lines. Polarization ensures that voters will most likely vote for the candidate who is from their party. The media has also altered the political landscape by adding negativity to politics which may influence the voters.

Public opinion has also been described as malleable because of the ease with which people change their minds. Politicians invest huge amounts of money in changing people’s opinions about a particular issue. This means that public opinion changes with time depending on the politics of the day. According to the RAS model, people may change their opinion on a political issue when presented with information that is different from their knowledge. The more one engages with an issue. The more likely one will adopt the idea as an opinion.

In my view, public opinion is more malleable than it is stable. This is because we live in an era of misinformation which makes some people question whether what they know is right. As a result, most people are more likely to change their minds on something if they engage with convincing new information. Politicians invest their time in changing public opinion so that they can take advantage. This means that in some instances, public opinion is malleable.

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