Numbered Voices: How Opinion Polling Has Shaped American Politics

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University of Chicago Press, 15. ágú. 1995 - 227 síđur
Quantifying the American mood through opinion polls appears to be an unbiased means for finding out what people want. But in Numbered Voices, Susan Herbst demonstrates that the way public opinion is measured affects the use that voters, legislators, and journalists make of it.

Exploring the history of public opinion in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, Herbst shows how numbers served both instrumental and symbolic functions, not only conveying neutral information but creating a basis authority. Addressing how the quantification of public opinion has affected contemporary politics and the democratic process, Herbst asks difficult but fundamental questions about the workings of American politics.

"An original and thought-provoking analysis of why we have polls, what they accomplish, and how they affect the current political scene. Herbst's scholarship is impeccable, her writing is clear and crisp, and her findings are original. . . . Every reader will benefit by carefully weighing the issues she raises and the conclusions she draws."—Doris A. Graber, Political Science Quarterly

"An intelligent, theoretically rich, and historically broad account of public opinion over several millennia. . . . The historical accounts are interesting and her interpretations are thought-provoking."—Paul Brace, Journal of American History
 

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Efni

INTRODUCTION
1
Quantification and Rationality
7
Numbers and Symbolic Politics
29
Techniques of Opinion Expression and Measurement
43
Partisan Politics and the Symbolic Use of Straw Polls 18561936
69
Congressmen Journalists and Opinion Assessment 19301950
89
Contemporary Public Opinion Research
113
Crowd Estimation and Public Opinion
133
Opinion Quantification and Democracy
153
NOTES
177
BIBLIOGRAPHY
205
INDEX
219
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Susan Herbst is university professor of political science and president emeritus at the University of Connecticut. She is author of many books and articles including Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in America. She is coeditor of the Studies in American Politics series, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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