Public Opinion • Political Socialization and the Formation of Public Opinion • Measuring Public Opinion • Public Opinion Research • Types of Polls • What makes a good (or bad poll)? • Influence of Polls on Politics
Influences on Political Socialization • Family, Peers and School • Demographic Characteristics • Age • Gender • Race & Ethnicity • Religion • The Media • Cues from Leaders and Opinion Makers
Types of Polls Telephone Polls Exit Polls Tracking Polls Internet Polls Push Polls
Sample Size and Margin of Error More than half of Americans -- 52 percent -- say they disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job in office, according to a CNN/ORC International poll. Margin of Error +/- 3.5% pts. Disapprove 52% Approve 45% No opinion 2% Source: CNN/ORC International 8/1/2011
Loaded Questions In this case, the results are less interesting than the phrasing of the question. What percent responded "hardly serious at all"? As you know, residents near the Love Canal, in the Niagara Falls , New York area, were reported to have stillbirths, cancer, deformed children, and chromosome damage as a result of the dumping of hazardous chemical wastes. The people who live near Love Canal want to move out and are suing the chemical company there and the federal government for $3 billion for damages done to them. How serious a problem do you think the dumping of toxic chemicals is in the country today-very serious, only somewhat serious, or hardly serious at all? Two percent responded "hardly serious at all."
Measuring Intensity Fox News (April 2004) asked the following question of 900 registered voters: Do you support or oppose the US having taken military action to disarm Iraq and remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein? Is that strongly support/oppose or only somewhat support/oppose? Support strongly 49% Support somewhat 16% Oppose somewhat 7% Oppose strongly 24 Not sure 4%