Studies in Public Opinion: Attitudes, Nonattitudes, Measurement Error, and Change

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Willem E. Saris, Paul M. Sniderman
Princeton University Press, 2004 - Political Science - 366 pages

In democratic societies, opinion polls play a vital role. But it has been demonstrated that many people do not have an opinion about major issues--the "nonattitudes" problem. Also, the framing of questions in different ways can generate very different estimates of public opinion--the "framing" effect. Both dilemmas raise questions about the competence of ordinary citizens to play the role a democratic society ostensibly expects of them. Although the impact of some factors is well established, particularly political information and sophistication, much is yet to be understood.

Building on and reaching beyond themes in the work of Philip Converse, one of the pioneers in the study of public opinion, Studies in Public Opinion brings together a group of leading American and European social scientists to explore a number of new factors, with a particular emphasis on the structure of political choices. In twelve chapters that reflect different perspectives on how people form political opinions and how these opinions are manipulated, this book offers an unparalleled view of the state-of-the-art research on these important questions as it has developed on two continents.

The contributors include Matthew K. Berent, Jaak Billiet, George Y. Bizer, Paul R. Brewer, John Bullock, Danielle BŁtschi, Michael Guge, Hanspeter Kriesi, Jon A. Krosnick, Milton Lodge, Michael F. Meffert, Peter Neijens, Willem E. Saris, Paul M. Sniderman, Marco R. Steenbergen, Marc Swyngedouw, Sean M. Theriault, William van der Veld, Penny S. Visser, Hans Waege, and John Zaller.


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Different Judgment Models for Policy Questions Competing or Complementary?
Separation of Error Method Effects Instability and Attitude Strength
Good Bad and Ambivalent The Consequences of Multidimensional Political Attitudes
The NotSoAmbivalent Public Policy Attitudes in the Political Culture of Ambivalence
The Structure of Political Argument and the Logic of Issue Framing
Floating Voters in US Presidential Elections 19482000
Importance Knowledge and Accessibility Exploring the Dimensionality of StrengthRelated Attitude Properties
Stability and Change of Opinion The Case of Swiss Policy against Pollution Caused by Cars
Attitude Strength and Response Stability of a QuasiBalanced Political Alienation Scale in a Panel Study
Coping with the Nonattitudes Phenomenon A Survey Research Approach
The Influence of Information on Considered Opinions The Example of the Choice Questionnaire
A Consistency Theory of Public Opinion and Political Choice The Hypothesis of Menu Dependence

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About the author (2004)

Willem E. Saris is Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and also teaches at the ESADE business school of Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona. Paul M. Sniderman is Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. He is the coauthor of Black Pride and Black Prejudice (Princeton).

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