This course examines public opinion in American Politics and how to measure it. The course considers the nature of public opinion, survey methods, the role of polling in opinion expression, opinion formation, citizen knowledge, the role of media in shaping opinion, the effect of opinion on policy, and political polarization.
1. What is public opinion and in what ways is it expressed?
2. How do surveys perform as measures of public opinion and what is their role in our democracy? Are they accurate? What do they measure?
3. What are the implications of the changes in technology for surveys?
4. Are citizens knowledgeable? Are they rational or self-interested?
5. Is the public polarized?
6. How does the media influence public opinion?
7. What role does opinion play in shaping policy?