Chapter

Public opinion

Paolo Dardanelli

in Between Two Unions

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780719070808
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701393 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719070808.003.0004
Public opinion

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This chapter takes a look at the close match between elite discourse and public opinion, which verifies the claim that the elites had the ability to shape deeply mass attitudes. It notes that one of the key elements emerging from the analysis of public opinion data is that support for self-government was still above 60 per cent at the time of the referendum, despite the fact that the latter's result—while taking into account the effects of the 40 per cent clause—was negative. This means that a large gap between support for devolution and the Yes vote existed in 1979, which can be explained by the workings of a complex causal mechanism called the ‘interaction effect’.

Keywords: elite discourse; public opinion; mass attitudes; Yes vote; interaction effect; causal mechanism

Chapter.  4540 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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