{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Public Opinion - Public Opinion Thursday Plan of attack...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Public Opinion Thursday, September 16, 2010 Plan of attack - What is public opinion? - How do we measure it? - Where does it come from? - How well is it organized? - Can it be manipulated? What is public opinion? - B&C: “Citizens’ views on politics and government actions” - B&C: Views = attitudes = opinions? - That’s a simplification – and not a useful one - WARNING DANGER – I’m defining things differently than the book does - In this class, opinions come from attitudes - In this class, I care about attitudes, but can only see opinions Attitude - An attitude about something is an internal mental picture of whether something is good or bad or indifferent - “Valenced cognition towards an object” - Usually, attitudes are what I really care about o I want to know what people think of the President o I want to know how people feel about the war - Attitudes are at the root of lots of political activities - But I can’t measure attitudes directly Opinion - I want to know your attitudes, but I can’t measure those - What I can measure are your opinions o I ask you a question o Your answer is your opinion statement - Opinion statements are a result of attitudes - But opinions can be a function of many attitudes, some of which aren’t relevant to the researcher - “Do you approve of how President Obama is running things?” o Possible attitudes leading to opinion President Obama’s recent performance (what I care about) Northerners (I don’t care about) Black men (I don’t care about) Latent Opinion - Hence “latent opinions” - I don’t have an opinion ready for the interviewer - I’m not telling the interviewer my pre-existing opinion - Instead, I’m building my opinions on the fly, right before I answer the question Qualities of public opinion - Public opinion has: o Direction o Intensity
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
o Salience Direction - Responses are positive/negative - Agree/disagree - Proportion who agree Intensity - Qn: “Do you approve of [gun control law]?” o I might say yes, but only a little bit o I might say yes, and really mean it o I might say no and really mean it o WARNING DANGER Intensity isn’t exactly how strongly you feel it Low intensity doesn’t mean I’m ambivalent, or on the fence Low intensity means that I wouldn’t give anything up to get my preferred position - Intensity is important - Lots of stuff happens because an intense minority opposes a non-intense majority Saliency - An issue is salient if it is generally important o Matters to lots of people o Matters to journalists o Matters to government - Not exactly the same as intensity o Salient sort of equals “politically relevant” o Intensity is just intensity o You can have intense opinions or attitudes about non-relevant low-salience matters Measuring public opinion - Most common method: polling o We want to know what everyone thinks about X This is impossible o So, ask some people about X o Turns out a relative few is okay - Sampling to the rescue!
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}