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The formation of Public Opinion

There are three stages in the formation of public opinion-The rise of an issue-discussion and proposed solutions and arrival at a consensus. As soon as a public issue emerges there is usually a preliminary phase of discussion. The issue is defined and a hope is expressed for its solution.

Later as a discussion continues those concerned express their own views on the issue and propose various and often divergent solutions through letters, petitions, memoranda etc.In the course of time we pass on the third stage when opinion begins to crystallize and people began to take sides.

The formation of public opinion depends upon a number of factors. Symbols play a most important role in the process of forming opinions. Symbols are combination of words, personalities, music, drama and other such devices that make an impression upon the masses. They may be slogans or they may be factors linked to popular sentiments which arouse the imagination and cause individuals to respond readily as democracy,liberty,red,fair deal, pearl harbour.