Public opinion can hold great power over politics and government action. Popular support can initiate war, give power to officials, or bring down corrupt politicians. Mass media furthers public influence, actively shaping and reflecting public opinion, giving light to individual viewpoints and spreading new knowledge.
Tracking attitudes and trends allows for an understanding of national sentiment and support. Dynamically changing, public opinion can be laden with passionate emotion, yet easily stricken with misinformed judgment. Yet fact-based calculations on opinion polls allow leaders to know where they stand, and, most importantly, where they should go. It is the mission of international research and polling agencies to follow these changes, providing unbiased, accurate findings that will shape political action and galvanize national support.
Critical Topics for Public Diplomacy
The following represents a list of key terms and ideas that are used in reference to broader discussions about public opinion and public diplomacy.
- The Clash of Civilizations - i.e. the perception that there exists a fundamental clash of civilizations. This term is normally used to describe the perceived societal clashes between the West and the Middle East.
Public Opinion Surveys
The following is a list of key public opinion surveys which frequently appear in conversations about the successes and failures of the public diplomacy campaigns of respective nations. Public opinion surveys relevant to particular countries/campaigns are listed on the individual country pages.
- Soft Power in Asia: Results of a 2008 Multinational Survey of Public Opinion - The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- Latest Poll - Palestinian Center for Public Opinion
- Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2008 Some Positive Signs for U.S. Image GLOBAL ECONOMIC GLOOM – CHINA AND INDIA NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS
- Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2007
- The Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2007 - Global Unease With Major World Powers
- Intercultural dialogue in Europe - 2007 - Flash Eurobarometer Report
- American Character Gets Mixed Reviews: U.S. Image Up Slightly, But Still Negative - 2005 - The Pew Global Attitudes Survey.
- 22 Nation GlobeScan Poll on China - 2005 - Program On International Policy Attitudes
- International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: Not Just for Governments Anymore - 2005 - The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies
- BBC World Service 22 Nation Poll on Bush's Reelection - 2005 - Program On International Policy Attitudes
- How the World Views America: 10 Nation Survey - 2004 - The Guardian, UK
- Global Views 2004: American Public Opinion and Foreign Policy - Chicago Council on Foreign Relations Report
- A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists - 2004 - The Pew Research Center
- Misperceptions, the Media & the Iraq War - 2003 - Program On International Policy Attitudes/Knowledge Networks Poll
- Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2003
- Pew Research Center Report - What the World Thinks in 2002