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Nonattitude refers to the mental state of having no attitude or opinion toward some object, concept, or other type of stimulus. In survey research, this is manifested by an overt no opinion or don't know response to an attitude question, but it may also be hidden by a random or guesswork choice of answers to avoid appearing ignorant. Additionally, it is likely that not all no opinion or don't know responses reflect nonattitudes. This makes it hard to estimate how many respondents have nonattitudes toward the object.

How the Problem was Uncovered

The nonattitude problem became prominent when the National Election Survey (NES) reinterviewed panels of Americans at 2-year intervals in the 1950s. Political scientist Philip Converse observed the low stability of individuals' answers given 2 years ...

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