Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind / Edition 3

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In PUBLIC OPINION: MEASURING THE AMERICAN MIND, Barbara Bardes, co-authors of the best selling, AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY and Robert Oldendick explore the formation, variation, and impact of public opinion. In addition, the authors devote Part Two to the issues and methods of polling, including polling in political campaigns and the goals of organizations that commission and conduct polls. With a discussion of the history of public opinion, as well as an analysis of the public's views on a range of current issues, this text offers a comprehensive study of the field.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780495007531
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 2/14/2006
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara A. Bardes is professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Kent State University and her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She served as a faculty member in political science and dean of Mundelein College at Loyola University of Chicago. In 1993, she was appointed dean of Raymond Walters College of the University of Cincinnati where she served until 2003. Bardes has written articles on public and foreign policy and women and politics. She also has co-authored DECLARATIONS OF INDEPENDENCE: WOMEN AND POLITICAL POWER IN 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN NOVELS, THINKING ABOUT PUBLIC POLICY, PUBLIC OPINION: MEASURING THE AMERICAN MIND, and AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY.

Robert W. Oldendick is professor of political science and director of the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research at the University of South Carolina. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, where he was assistant director of the Institute for Policy Research. Oldendick has written numerous articles on survey research methodology and on various aspects of public opinion and political behavior.

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Table of Contents

Preface xiii
Part I Public Opinion and American Democracy 1
Chapter 1 Public Opinion and American Democracy 3
Defining Public Opinion 5
Does Public Opinion Matter? 8
Public Opinion vs. Public Judgment 10
Opinions, Attitudes, and Beliefs 11
The Plan of the Book 12
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 13
Chapter 2 Measuring American Opinion: the Origins of Polling 14
The Origins of Public Opinion Polling 15
The First Candidate Poll: Family Ties 16
The Development of Survey Research 17
The Election of 1948: A Temporary Setback 18
After 1948: Continued Growth 19
A Surge in Telephone Interviewing: The Development of Random-Digit Dialing 21
Growth in University Polls 21
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 23
Part II How are Opinions Measured and Used? 25
Chapter 3 How Public Opinion Data are Used 27
Use in Political Campaigns 28
Benchmark Polls 28
Tracking Polls 28
Pseudo-Polls 29
Use by Officeholders 30
Use by Government Agencies 33
Federal Government 34
Is the Census a Poll? 35
State Government 37
Local Government 37
Use by Interest Groups 38
Use by the Media 40
What the Public Thinks? 43
Use by Academic Researchers 44
The American National Election Studies 44
The General Social Survey 45
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 46
Chapter 4 How are Opinions Measured? 48
Modes of Survey Data Collection 49
Populations of Interest 49
Selecting a Sample 50
Random-Digit Dialing 52
Sampling Error 53
Sample Size 53
Questionnaire Design 54
Sample Selection for Different Modes: Some Examples 55
Data Analysis 64
Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Modes 65
How Much Does It Cost? 66
The Technology of Measuring the American Mind 67
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 71
Part III What Do Americans Believe? 73
Chapter 5 The Sources of Opinions 75
The Political Learning of Children and Adolescents 77
The Influence of Formal Education 80
The Curriculum 81
Ritual and Ceremony 82
The Teachers 82
School Behaviors 83
The School as a Sorter Mechanism 84
The Influence of Ethnic Identity 86
African Americans 87
Hispanic, Asian, and Native Americans 88
Religion and Public Opinion 89
The Evangelicals 89
The Catholics 90
Jewish Opinions 90
Gender and Opinions 91
The Influence of Peers 93
Generational Influences on Opinion 94
The Media's Influence on Opinion 95
Supplying Information 96
Setting the Agenda 97
Conveying Messages 98
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 99
Chapter 6 Political Orientations 101
Political Ideology 103
Party Identification 108
Vive La Difference? 111
Confidence in Institutions 112
Trust in Government 115
Political Efficacy 117
Power of the Federal Government 120
Summary 123
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 120
Chapter 7 Public Opinion on Social-Welfare Issues 127
Social-Welfare Issues 128
Social Security 129
Education 131
Health Care 131
Assisting the Needy 136
The Environment 141
Group Differences in Attitudes 145
Summary 148
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 149
Chapter 8 Americans' Views on Racial Issues 150
School Desegregation 151
Residential Integration 150
Fair Employment Practices 158
Affirmative Action 160
Government Aid to Minority Groups 162
Spending on Racial Issues 167
The Civil Rights Movement, Impact of Slavery, and Voting for a Black Candidate 170
Summary 174
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 176
Chapter 9 Public Opinion on Highly Controversial Issues 177
The Politics of Crime and Criminal Justice 178
Perceptions of Crime 179
Perceptions of Punishment 182
The Death Penalty 185
The Politics of Life and Death 187
Public Opinion toward Abortion 187
Public Opinion toward the Right to Die 192
American Views on Gun Control 194
The Ownership of Guns 194
Thinking about Weapons and Government Controls 194
Summary 196
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 196
Chapter 10 How Americans View Foreign and Defense Policies 198
Public Opinion and Foreign Policy: Which Opinions? 200
Foreign Policy Goals and Priorities 203
Issues of War and Peace 204
The Vietnam Conflict 205
Vietnam: Opposition? Yes; Withdrawal? Maybe 206
The Persian Gulf War 208
The War on Terrorism 209
Peacekeeping, Rescue, and Other Uses of Military Force 210
Foreign Aid and Other International Issues 213
Foreign Aid 214
The United Nations 215
The Soviet Union 216
How Do Americans Think about Foreign Policy? 217
The Prudent Use of Force 218
Working from Types 219
Using Cues or Schemas 219
Summary 221
Polls, Polling, and the Internet 221
Part IV Public Opinion: A Critical Perspective 223
Chapter 11 Challenges Facing Public Opinion Research: Issues of Reliability and Trust 225
Pseudo-Polls 227
Respondent Factors 229
Technological Developments 232
Summary 234
Chapter 12 Measuring the American Mind: the Sum of Its Parts 236
The Political Context 236
Party Identification 237
The Ideological Spectrum 238
Political Attachment 238
The Issues Agenda 239
Providing for the General Welfare 239
Equality and Racism 240
Issues of Life and Death 241
The United States and the World 242
The American Mind: Common Principles or Common Sense 243
Appendix A Sources of Public Opinion Data 246
Appendix B Questions From the American National Election Studies and General Social Surveys 251
Glossary 262
References 267
Index 283
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