News Polls

W. Lance Bennett

in The Oxford Handbook of American Public Opinion and the Media

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199545636
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 News Polls

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  • Politics
  • US Politics
  • Political Behaviour


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This chapter investigates the reasons why producing good news stories usually gets the better of more measured assessments of poll results, briefly discussing the construction of an imagined engaged public, which can be a lasting media project. It then looks at some fixed methodological cautions in interpreting polls, along with an analysis of why the news media routinely ignore these cautions. The last part of the chapter studies the importance of creating a news public that conveniently gathers around supposedly clear support and opposition to elite policy frames, thus making a dramatic news narrative on representative democracy.

Keywords: news stories; poll results; measured assessments; imagined engaged public; media project; methodological cautions; news media; elite policy frames; news narrative; representative democracy

Article.  7110 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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