What Is Public Opinion and What Factors Help Shape It?

Public opinion comprises thoughts, beliefs, or values of certain people in society. Public opinion dates back to the tribal eras where people lived in tribes, and it later evolved into a democratic state where the opinion of every individual and collective opinions of the whole state or society started to count and be valued more than before.

Many things affect public opinions. A few include cultural backgrounds, education values, ethnicity, and their belief system. Public opinions came into a more substantial form with the change in political policies and contentions. With the rise of democracy, it was given importance. Public opinions these days have a greater cause, with social movements covering diversified topics which have made even the government change and readjust their policies.

Movements for feminism and Black Lives Matter are popular in the news; these movements coupled with many more have substantially proven the importance public opinion has in the modern time. Public opinions have not only brought great changes throughout history, but it has paved the way to openly express and talk about the issues that collectively people have to suffer from time to time. Which is why it is extremely important to know what is public opinion and what factors help shape it.

What Factors Help Shape Public Opinion?

There are multiple factors that shape public opinion and form public opinions as follows.

The Environment Shapes Public Opinions

Environment plays a vital role informing individuals along with public opinions. The social environment one surrounds them with can play a major role in forming collective opinions, your friends, your family, religious belief, societal laws and regulations, the environment which surrounds the people, and the public can form specific opinions.

Your opinions can majorly be shared with what is going on around you. If your family, group of friends, or people close to you have certain opinions and beliefs you are more likely to follow them, if the state you reside in follows and condemns certain actions you are more likely to refrain from them. The environment is a major factor in depicting the public opinion for us.


Media has a huge say in forming public opinion. The media portrays information that is typically framed in ways to form opinions which are long-lasting over the minds of the viewers. The media itself is an extremely broad term consisting of newspapers and television, including all the talk shows, news, movies, and everything. Social media also forms public opinions. Blogs and influencers are few most recent media approaches which are actively shaping public opinions.

Along with these, there are multiple other factors which aid in shaping public opinions including opinion leaders, who have a great following and people tend to listen and value their beliefs and stance on certain things and issues.

One can find different interest groups as per their own individual interest and work towards something great with likeminded people. There are many reasons why public opinions are important. Knowing what public opinion is and what factors can shape it will develop a deeper insight on how modern society works.