i) Public opinion is defined loosely as the views of (a) a collection of individuals,(b) about a particular issue (c) at a particular point in time; therefore by this definition it’s important to realize that public opinion isn’t a constant state, opinions change with time. Measuring public opinion is important for every government, for without it, it does not know the sentiments of its constituency, and will therefore not be able to represent its fundamental interests.
And so many democratic governments have instituted a number of mechanisms to discover public opinion, the two most popular being: (a) indirect and direct official ways- e.g. elections and referendums; and (b) unofficial ways through mediums such as the media. In the first instance (a), elections and the system through which they are instituted have adverse effects on the behaviour of voting citizens. Another point to note is that because these ways of measurement can’t yield an exact measurement of public preferences, the trend in a change of thought has to be a big one.
ii) An electoral system is a set of and regulations that govern the voting process . included in this is election administration and the legal and practical realities of voter registration.1 Types of electoral systems include single-member and proportional representation where there is a list of candidates and not only a choice to vote for one candidate. This system can affect electoral behavior because all the conditions regarding party appointments, legislature and the formation of how the government is structured are specified in the electoral system. So for instance, if a voter knows that his party has an overwhelming majority and the E.S. shows that in order to gain power you need les than that, he might decide not to vote, as it won’t make a difference.
iii) The Nixon campaign staff must have asked themselves “What makes voters vote as they do?”. following that came a few analytical questions posed by Harry Treleaven: “What do we want to communicate?”, “How do we say what we want to communicate?”, and “Where should we put our advertising message so that it will reach the most voters in the most effective way possible at the least cost?”.
The Nixon team needed to channel his image through the Republican Party channels, as the most worthy Republican for presidential office. He needed to have more appeal than Reagan, Rockefeller, Romney and Percy, and convince the Republican constituency that he is the right man for the job, regardless of having lost two preceding elections. That he is willing to face the competition again, for he is still certain he is the right man for the job. So let us explore the tactics, strategic analyses and types of measurement by the Nixon squad.
They assessed their surroundings: competition. Well, for example, Rockefeller had no interest in running; Reagan had the charm and charisma, but lacked the experience and needs more time to be groomed. Next on the agenda, they needed to assess their product- Richard Nixon- and see what good traits and accolades they may use to promote it above other nominees. The central idea was not to create a new Nixon, but rather to add on to his main accolades, further accomplishments that voters never knew of, some personal: e.g. he is a great pianist, and others that have always been there that were difficult for him to show he had, and the media is a great tool for this, so that they see that Richard has not changed, it is just what we know of him, and this may give voters incentive to change their view of him. This would enhance endorsements by some elites, whose votes would be influencial upon others.
The Nixon team learnt to understand the media, and know how to use it to serve their best interests. For example, Nixon looks better in movement, not addressing the nation sitting down; the shots would have to be waist and upwards, etc. In the end, these analyses and other marketing strategies helped seal Nixon`s fate as the next president.