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The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion

by
ISBN13:

9780521407861

ISBN10:
0521407869
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
8/28/1992
Publisher(s):
Cambridge University Press
List Price: $41.00

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Summary

In this book John Zaller develops a comprehensive theory to explain how people acquire political information from the mass media and convert it into political preferences. Using numerous specific examples, Zaller applies this theory in order to explain the dynamics of public opinion on a broad range of subjects, including both domestic and foreign policy, trust in government, racial equality, and presidential approval, as well as voting behavior in U.S. House, Senate and Presidential elections. Particularly perplexing characteristics of public opinion are also examined, such as the high degree of random fluctuations in political attitudes observed in opinion surveys and the changes in attitudes due to minor changes in the wording of survey questions.

Table of Contents

List of tables and figures
viii(3)
Preface xi
1 Introduction: The fragmented state of opinion research
1(5)
2 Information, predispositions, and opinion
6(34)
3 How citizens acquire information and convert it into public opinion
40(13)
4 Coming to terms with response instability
53(23)
5 Making it up as you go along
76(21)
6 The mainstream and polarization effects
97(21)
7 Basic processes of "attitude change"
118(33)
8 Tests of the one-message model
151(34)
9 Two-sided information flows
185(31)
10 Information flow and electoral choice
216(49)
11 Evaluating the model and looking toward future research
265(45)
12 Epilogue: The question of elite domination of public opinion
310(23)
Measures appendix 333(14)
References 347(12)
Index 359


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