Attitudes and Public Opinion




This course will examine research on the character of public opinion in contemporary America. The questions to be addressed include: What is public opinion? How well do surveys measure it? Where do attitudes and opinions come from? What shapes opinion? Does the nature of public opinion meet the requirements of democratic theory? We will consider the answers that have been proposed to the questions and examine how the questions have been studied. Our assumption is that what we know about public opinion is linked to how we know it.