Constructing Public Opinion

Michael X. Delli Carpini

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

Constructing Public Opinion


This chapter discusses what has come to define public opinion for over the last seventy-five years – the grouping of individual opinions by quantitative analysis, surveys, and sampling – and describes the efforts to discover public opinion before the arrival of systematic surveys. It then presents a detailed review of the origins and institutionalization of scientific survey research from the 1930s until the 1950s, and, finally, discusses the changes that occurred since 1960, emphasizing several challenges and opportunities facing survey research.

Keywords: public opinion; individual opinions; quantitative analysis; surveys; sampling; systematic surveys; scientific survey research

Article.  7885 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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