Reading Public Opinion: How Political Actors View the Democratic Process / Edition 1

Reading Public Opinion: How Political Actors View the Democratic Process / Edition 1

by Susan Herbst
     
 

Public opinion is one of the most elusive and complex concepts in democratic theory, and we do not fully understand its role in the political process. Reading Public Opinion offers one provocative approach for understanding how public opinion fits into the empirical world of politics. In fact, Susan Herbst finds that public opinion, surprisingly, has little toSee more details below

Overview

Public opinion is one of the most elusive and complex concepts in democratic theory, and we do not fully understand its role in the political process. Reading Public Opinion offers one provocative approach for understanding how public opinion fits into the empirical world of politics. In fact, Susan Herbst finds that public opinion, surprisingly, has little to do with the mass public in many instances.

Herbst draws on ideas from political science, sociology, and psychology to explore how three sets of political participants--legislative staffers, political activists, and journalists--actually evaluate and assess public opinion. She concludes that many political actors reject "the voice of the people" as uninformed and nebulous, relying instead on interest groups and the media for representations of public opinion. Her important and original book forces us to rethink our assumptions about the meaning and place of public opinion in the realm of contemporary democratic politics.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226327471
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
10/28/1998
Series:
Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
266
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
1The "Construction" of Public Opinion: Looking to Lay Theory13
2Policy Experts Think about Public Opinion, Media, and Legislative Process46
3Journalistic Views of Public Opinion89
4Conceptions of Public Opinion and Representation among Partisan Activists124
5Meanings of Public Opinion: Lay Theory Meets Democratic Theory149
App. ANotes on Interviews and Building Grounded Theory191
App. BInterview Protocols199
App. CSurvey Form206
Notes209
Bibliography231
Index243

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