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Polling and the Public



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Asher's central objective-to help students become savvy consumers of polls-has only grown in importance as polling data have become more central to public and civic discourse. His trusted and brief guide offers solid grounding on polls: how the media cover them, their use in campaigns and elections, and their interpretation. Methodological aspects of polling are explained simply, in a non-technical fashion. Bringing the book fully up to date with new data and scholarship, this edition covers polls in a fragmented media environment and nontraditional approaches to polling, as well as the use of age cohorts to trace public opinion trends over time.

Author Biography

Herbert Asher is professor emeritus of political science at The Ohio State University. He has written numerous articles and books on legislative politics, electoral politics, and political methodology, including American Labor Unions in the Electoral Arena, with Eric S. Heberlig, Randall B. Ripley, and Karen Snyder (2001); Presidential Elections and American Politics, Fifth Edition (1992); Theory-Building and Data Analysis in the Social Sciences, coedited with Herbert F. Weisberg, John H. Kessel, and W. Phillips Shively (1984); and Causal Modeling, revised edition (1983).

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Polling and the Publicp. 1
The Importance of Pollsp. 2
The Pervasiveness of Pollsp. 4
Commissioned Pollsp. 6
FRUGging, SUGging, and Pseudopollsp. 8
The Citizen as a Consumer of Pollsp. 18
Citizens' Views of Pollsp. 19
Polling and Democracyp. 26
Exercisesp. 35
The Problem of Nonattitudesp. 37
An Example of Nonattitudesp. 40
The Use of Screening Questionsp. 41
Nonattitudes and the Middle Position in Survey Questionsp. 47
Response Instability and Nonattitudesp. 51
Implications for Democracy and Public Policyp. 55
Conclusionp. 58
Exercisesp. 60
Wording and Context of Questionsp. 63
Question Wordingp. 65
Question Order and Contextp. 81
Conclusionp. 88
Exercisesp. 89
Sampling Techniquesp. 91
Nonprobability Samplingp. 92
Sampling Designsp. 93
Sample Size and Sampling Errorp. 103
Total versus Actual Sample Sizep. 106
Response Ratesp. 107
Weighting the Samplep. 112
Conclusionp. 115
Exercisesp. 116
Interviewing and Data Collection Proceduresp. 117
Methods of Collecting Polling Informationp. 118
Interviewer Effects in Public Opinion Pollingp. 123
Internet Pollingp. 129
Conclusionp. 135
Exercisesp. 136
The Media and the Pollsp. 137
Standards for Reporting Resultsp. 138
Substantive Interpretation of Pollsp. 146
Media, Polls, and the News Reporting Emphasisp. 155
Conclusionp. 159
Exercisesp. 161
Polls and Electionsp. 163
Sponsors of Election Pollsp. 163
Types of Election Pollsp. 164
Uses of Polls by Candidatesp. 181
Polls in the Presidential Selection Processp. 184
When and Why Election Predictions Are Wrongp. 189
How Preelection Polls Affect Votersp. 200
Conclusionp. 202
Exercisesp. 202
Analyzing and Interpreting Pollsp. 205
Choosing Items to Analyzep. 206
Examining Trends with Polling Datap. 221
Examining Subsets of Respondentsp. 225
Interpreting Poll Resultsp. 229
When Polls Conflict: Some Final Thoughtsp. 234
Exercisesp. 236
Polling and Democracyp. 237
How to Evaluate Polls: A Summaryp. 238
Polls and Their Effect on the Political Systemp. 241
Conclusionp. 250
Exercisep. 251
Web Sitesp. 253
Referencesp. 257
Indexp. 279
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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