Polling and Public Opinion: A Canadian Perspective / Edition 2

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In our information-saturated world, the availability of public opinion data seems altogether unremarkable. Some even complain of polling fatigue, fretting that we know too much about what our fellow citizens think - perhaps to the detriment of the coherence and resolve of our own opinions. Although polling is ubiquitous today, the art and science of public opinion research were much less familiar in Canada a generation ago and all but unheard of in the decades before that. The ideas, methods, approaches, and findings Peter Butler describes in this book evolved largely over the latter two-thirds of the 20th century. For students of our evolving democracy, the development of public opinion research as an increasingly important medium in our political culture has been fascinating to watch.

About the Author:
Peter M. Butler is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802038197
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 5/12/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter M. Butler is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University, and has worked as a research consultant with national public opinion research firms.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Michael Adams     ix
Acknowledgments     xvii
Introduction     3
Polling and Understanding Public Opinion     7
The Social Basis of Public Opinion     7
The Role of Values in Opinion Formation     17
Understanding Variations in Opinions     31
Polls and 'Pollstars'     35
Summary     45
Methods of Collecting Opinions     46
Turning Opinions into Numbers     46
Populations and Sampling     58
Questionnaires and Interviews     67
Reporting the Numbers     78
Summary     82
Public Opinion and the Mass Media     83
News, Issues, and Opinions     83
Mass Communication and Consensus     94
Advertising and Public Opinion     100
Summary     106
Public Opinion Polls and Social Policy     108
Leadership and Opinion Polling     109
Confidence and Crisis in Health Care     118
Political Ideology and Public Policy     127
Summary     131
Change and Stability in Opinions     133
Some Sources of Opinion Change     134
ChangingOpinions about National Issues     149
Postmodernism and Public Opinion     164
Summary     167
Conclusion: Polling and Public Opinion     169
References     173
Index     187
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