Public Opinion

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-29
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
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The new edition of this popular textbook provides a comprehensive, accessible introduction to public opinion in the United States and describes how public opinion data are collected, how they are used, and the role they play in the U.S. political system. Bardes and Oldendick introduce students to the history of polling and explain the factors a good consumer of polls should know in order to evaluate public opinion data. Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind is the only text to devote significant space to the history of polling, the use of polling in America today, and to explain the methods used for survey research. In addition, Bardes & Oldendick engage students by providing in-depth coverage of public opinion on issues-social welfare, gun control, death penalty, abortion, gay rights, civil rights, and foreign policy-over time and with an analysis of group differences for each subject. This lively, engaging text combines a comprehensive grounding in the nuts and bolts of the field with up-to-date, real-world examples.

Author Biography

Barbara A. Bardes is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Cincinnati. She is the author of American Government and Politics Today and Declarations of Independence. Robert W. Oldendick is professor of political science at the University of South Carolina. He is also the director of the South Carolina State Survey, a biannual survey of the state's residents designed to gauge public opinion on a variety of policy issues facing South Carolina.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Boxes, and Tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Public Opinion and American Democracy
Public Opinion and American Democracyp. 3
Defining Public Opinionp. 4
Does Public Opinion Matter?p. 9
Public Opinion versus Public Judgmentp. 12
Opinions, Attitudes, and Beliefsp. 14
The Current Environmentp. 15
The Plan of the Bookp. 15
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 16
Measuring American Opinion: The Origins of Pollingp. 17
The Origins of Public Opinion Pollingp. 18
The Development of Survey Researchp. 19
The Election of 1948: A Temporary Setbackp. 21
After 1948: Continued Growthp. 24
A Surge in Telephone Interviewing: The Development of Random-Digit Dialingp. 25
The Rise of Internet Pollingp. 26
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 27
How are Opinions Measured and Used?
How Public Opinion Data are Usedp. 31
Using Public Opinion in Political Campaignsp. 31
The Use of Public Opinion Polling by Elected Officeholdersp. 36
The Use of Polling Data by Government Agenciesp. 39
Public Opinion and Interest Groupsp. 44
The Use of Polling by the Mediap. 46
Tracking Presidential Approval Ratingsp. 49
The Call-In Pollp. 51
The Use of Public Opinion Data in Academic Researchp. 52
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 55
How are Opinions Measured?p. 57
Modes of Survey Data Collectionp. 58
Populations of Interestp. 58
Selecting a Samplep. 59
Random-Digit Dialingp. 62
Sampling for Electronic Data Collectionp. 64
Sampling Errorp. 65
Sample Sizep. 66
Questionnaire Designp. 67
Data Analysisp. 79
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 84
What do Americans Believe?
The Sources of Opinionsp. 87
The Political Learning of Children and Adolescentsp. 89
The Influence of Formal Educationp. 93
The Curriculump. 94
Ritual and Ceremonyp. 95
The Teachersp. 95
School Behaviorsp. 97
The Influence of Ethnic Identityp. 99
Religion and Public Opinionp. 102
Gender and Opinionsp. 105
The Influence of Peersp. 106
Generational Influences on Opinionp. 108
The Media's Influence on Opinionp. 110
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 116
What the Public Knows about Politicsp. 117
Early Empirical Investigationsp. 118
The Unchanging American Voterp. 120
Applying Democratic Principlesp. 123
Group Differences in Knowledgep. 127
The Consequences of Political Knowledgep. 129
A Glass-Half-Full Perspective?p. 129
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 130
Political Orientationsp. 131
Political Ideologyp. 132
Party Identificationp. 139
Confidence in Institutionsp. 144
Trust in Governmentp. 147
Power of the Federal Governmentp. 151
Summaryp. 155
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 157
Public Opinion on Social-Welfare Issuesp. 159
Social-Welfare Issuesp. 160
Social Securityp. 161
Educationp. 165
Health Carep. 167
Assisting the Needyp. 173
The Environmentp. 177
The Issue of Global Warmingp. 182
Group Differences in Attitudesp. 183
Summaryp. 186
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 187
Americans' Views on Racial Issuesp. 189
Racial Desegregationp. 190
Fair Employment Practicesp. 193
Affirmative Actionp. 194
Government Aid to Minority Groupsp. 198
Spending on Racial Issuesp. 202
Other Issues of Race: Historical and Contemporaryp. 205
The Increasing Influence of Hispanicsp. 211
Summaryp. 213
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 215
Public Opinion on Highly Controversial Issuesp. 217
The Politics of Crime and Criminal Justicep. 218
The Politics of Individual Rightsp. 225
Public Opinion toward Abortionp. 226
Public Opinion on Gay Issuesp. 232
American Views on Gun Controlp. 234
Thinking about Weapons and Government Controlsp. 236
Immigration: A Mind Dividedp. 238
Summaryp. 241
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 242
How Americans View Foreign and Defense Policiesp. 245
American Opinion in the Post-9/11 Worldp. 246
Public Opinion and Foreign Policy: Which Opinions?p. 248
Foreign Policy Goals and Prioritiesp. 250
Issues of War and Peacep. 253
Terrorism and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraqp. 257
Peacekeeping, Rescue, and Other Uses of Military Forcep. 260
Foreign Aid and Other International Issuesp. 261
How Do Americans Think about Foreign Policy?p. 264
Summaryp. 268
Polls, Polling, and the Internetp. 268
Public Opinion: A Critical Perspective
Challenges Facing Public Opinion Research: Issues of Reliability and Trustp. 273
Pseudo-Pollsp. 275
Technological Developmentsp. 276
Respondent Factorsp. 282
The Cost of Survey Errorsp. 286
The Continuing Case for Pollingp. 288
Conclusionp. 288
Sources of Public Opinion Datap. 291
Questions from the American National Election Studies and General Social Surveysp. 295
Glossaryp. 309
Notesp. 317
Referencesp. 333
Indexp. 361
About the Authorsp. 377
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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