Public opinion theory and research are becoming increasingly significant in modern societies as people’s attitudes and behaviors become ever more volatile and opinion poll data becomes ever more readily available. This major new Handbook is the first to bring together into one volume the whole field of public opinion theory, research methodology, and the political and social embeddedness of polls in modern societies. It comprehensively maps out the state-of-the-art in contemporary scholarship on these topics.
Chapter 21: The Uses and Misuses of Polls
The Uses and Misuses of Polls
No matter what the issue is or the method for collecting attitudes about it, the mass media have a critical role to play in conveying information about the nature of public opinion to the majority of the population. This has historically been the case because of the media's central location in the process of exchanging and communicating social and political values as well as information. But the influence of news organizations grew and became more important as they became producers as well as disseminators of public opinion data. On the one hand, public opinion data are a means by which the mass media can establish and maintain contact with their audience members, by providing ...