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.
Sometimes, the information we do not collect on surveys is as important as the information we do collect. In recent years, social scientists and professional pollsters have paid increasing attention to survey non-response. In this chapter, I review current literature on this phenomenon and point to some areas of future inquiry.
When we speak of survey non-response, we are in fact, speaking of two distinct but related phenomena: unit non-response and item non-response. Unit non-response occurs when an entire observation unit is missing from our sample (Lohr, 1999). In the context of survey research, unit non-response occurs when we have no information about a respondent selected to be in our sample. Item non-response, on the other hand, occurs when some measurements are present ...