November 28, 2012
What is Public Opinion
-values/beliefs: basic orientation to politics
-political ideology: complex, interrelated set of beliefs and values, form general philosophy
-public opinion: how people think or feel about particular things
-do we get accurate reads?
-the most stable is ideology, next is set of values and beliefs
-lots of confidence on business polling
-how much info do polls convey?
-we do get info from polls, but media thinks they get more info from polls than
they actually do
Where do we get our opinions?
-most have few political info or opinions
-most people don’t think about politics at all
-people name politicians: only 25% people can name their 2 Senators, 29% people can
name their Representative, >50% people know that theAmend 1-10 = Bill of Rights
-Costs – time, energy, skills acquisition
-takes a lot of energy and time to learn and understand = makes people not willing to
-people seek shortcuts
-e.g. watch comedy shows (Colbert Report and Daily Show), church, family, school and
-can’t defend political interests = losers
-if you can’t defend interests you think are important, you’ll lose
-easier to manipulate – people and political process
Common American Values
-Are there any?
-equality of opportunity
-deeply ingrained inAmerican psyche
-American more distrustful of authority
For population over 500k, phone calls to pollsters have to make to get a “good” sample?
Single most important factor in conducting a valid scientific poll is:
-randomness of sample Random Sampling
-random sampling is necessary
-one way: you have a list of 100,000 phone numbers
-you just randomly pull the first 5000 numbers
-random sampling: target different locations, different age groups
-income disparity in cell phone use
-some people don’t answer the phone problem
-need ~ 1050 in a poll (when population is +500k)
-margin of error of +/-3%
-cell phones, no call lists, screening, apathy
-no call lists: doesn’t count for political polling
-solutions? The internet?
-internet surveys: skewed
-get people who understand technology than the norm
-internet doesn’t allow for randomness
-more people you survey = lower margin of error
What else is important?
-e.g. welfare vs. programs that support the poor = same meaning, but different wording
-e.g. forbid vs. not allow
-e.g. pro-choice and pro-life vs. supporters and opposition of abortion
-different ways to frame issues
-see this in push polls
-purpose of push poll: convey an idea to people (mostly negative idea)
-Qualified workers (lowest cost bids)
-media has incentive to do polls; economic
-lowest cost bids: untrained/uneducated workers
-if media doesn’t do the polls, they usually go to professional polling firms
-Dates of poll
-depends on when you call; do you call during holidays?
-Information about poll
-sponsor, firm, dates, population, #, MoE, report
-Ability to report polls