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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Three Schools of Thought on “Public Opinion” Measures

By David W. Moore, University of New Hampshire Responses to my article in the August 2011 issue of Survey Practice, “Contemporary Issues with Public Policy Polls,” suggest there are possibly three general schools of thought with respect to measuring opinion. These are somewhat arbitrary classifications, and I don’t hold to them tenaciously, but I think […]

A Brief Comment on David Moore’s Article

Howard Schuman David’s thoughts on the measurement of public opinion, and his example comparing three polls on the expansion of bicycle lanes in New York City, seemed to me interesting and of value. And how could I disagree with his emphasis on the importance of taking into account Non-Opinion and Intensity. Many pages in my […]

Comparability of Measurement in Public Opinion Polls

George F. Bishop and Stephen T. Mockabee, University of Cincinnati A cardinal assumption we make in asking any survey question is that it should mean essentially the same thing to all respondents. Experienced survey research practitioner Floyd Fowler, Jr. (1995, p.84; cf. Belson, 1981) has expressed this principle in his recommendations for improving question wording: […]

Prospects for Pre-election Polls in the Early 2012 Presidential Primaries

Michael W. Traugott, University of Michigan Voting in Iowa and New Hampshire is only a few weeks away, but variance in their early estimates suggest that there are storm clouds on the horizon for the pre-election pollsters – and therefore for everyone involved in the polling and survey research business.  Based upon a variety of […]

Poll Produces Eye-popping Headline: Questionable Inferences Serve as Prop to Turn Public Perception on its Head

Seth A. Rosenthal, Merriman River Group and Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School As survey researchers often looking to gain the biggest headline or snag the biggest client, we sometimes lose sight of the differences between the answers our data can provide, and those that it can’t. Ideally, we would treat our data as […]

The Consequences of Measuring Non-Attitudes about Foreign Trade Preferences

Michael D. Cobb, North Carolina State University; Mark T. Nance, North Carolina State University In a recent Survey Practice article, David Moore (2011) argues that policy polling is not living up to its democratic potential. As he sees it, and we generally agree, polling frequently manufactures a fictitiously interested and attentive public. Pollsters’ sins include […]