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Public Opinion Quarterly

Will Jennings, Nick Clarke, Jonathan Moss, Gerry Stoker
This research note considers how to track long-term trajectories of political discontent in Britain. Many accounts are confined to using either survey data drawn from recent decades or imperfect behavioral measures such as voting or party membership as indicators of political disengagement. We instead develop an approach that provides the long view on political disaffection. We first consider time-series data available from repeated survey measures. We next replicate historic survey questions to observe change in public opinion relative to earlier points in time...
September 2017: Public Opinion Quarterly
Katharina Meitinger
Cross-national data production in social science research has increased dramatically in recent decades. Assessing the comparability of data is necessary before drawing substantive conclusions that are based on cross-national data. Researchers assessing data comparability typically use either quantitative methods such as multigroup confirmatory factor analysis or qualitative methods such as online probing. Because both methods have complementary strengths and weaknesses, this study applies both multigroup confirmatory factor analysis and online probing in a mixed-methods approach to assess the comparability of constructive patriotism and nationalism, two important concepts in the study of national identity...
May 2017: Public Opinion Quarterly
Bolette Danckert, Peter Thisted Dinesen, Kim Mannemar Sønderskov
Drawing on insights from political psychology regarding political information processing, this paper argues that politically sophisticated individuals are less sensitive to the social cues manifested in the ethnic composition of their neighborhood when they form political opinions. This prediction is founded on politically sophisticated individuals having a greater comprehension of news and other mass-mediated sources, which makes them less likely to rely on neighborhood cues as sources of information relevant for political attitudes...
February 2017: Public Opinion Quarterly
Sebastian Lundmark, Mikael Gilljam, Stefan Dahlberg
Survey institutes recently have changed their measurement of generalized trust from the standard dichotomous scale to an 11-point scale. Additionally, numerous survey institutes use different question wordings: where most rely on the standard, fully balanced question (asking if "most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people"), some use minimally balanced questions, asking only if it is "possible to trust people." By using two survey-embedded experiments, one with 12,009 self-selected respondents and the other with a probability sample of 2,947 respondents, this study evaluates the generalized trust question in terms of question wording and number of scale points used...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
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2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Philip S Brenner
The nature of religious change and the future of religion have been central questions of social science since its inception. But empirical research on this question has been quite American-centric, encouraged by the conventional wisdom that the United States is an outlier of religiosity in the developed world, and, more pragmatically, by the availability of survey data. The dramatic growth in the number and reach of cross-national surveys over the past two decades has offered a corrective. These data have allowed research on religious trends in the United States, Canada, and Europe, putting American trends into comparative relief...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Vittorio Mérola, Matthew P Hitt
Numeric political appeals represent a prevalent but overlooked domain of public opinion research. When can quantitative information change political attitudes, and is this change trumped by partisan effects? We analyze how numeracy-or individual differences in citizens' ability to process and apply numeric policy information-moderates the effectiveness of numeric political appeals on a moderately salient policy issue. Results show that those low in numeracy exhibit a strong party-cue effect, treating numeric information in a superficial and heuristic fashion...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Jürgen Maier, J Felix Hampe, Nico Jahn
Real-time response (RTR) measurement is an important technique for analyzing human processing of electronic media stimuli. Although it has been demonstrated that RTR data are reliable and internally valid, some argue that they lack external validity. The reason for this is that RTR measurement is restricted to a laboratory environment due to its technical requirements. This paper introduces a smartphone app that 1) captures real-time responses using the dial technique and 2) provides a solution for one of the most important problems in RTR measurement, the (automatic) synchronization of RTR data...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Lance Hannon, Robert DeFina
The current study assesses the intercoder reliability of one of the most important skin tone measurement instruments-the Massey-Martin scale. This scale is used in several high-profile social surveys, but has not yet been psychometrically evaluated. The current evaluation is only possible because, for the first time, the General Social Survey's 2010-2014 panel used the instrument to guide interviewers' skin tone observation of the same respondents in two different years (2012 and 2014). Despite the widespread use of the Massey-Martin scale to investigate potential effects of skin tone on social attitudes and outcomes, the data suggest that the measure has low intercoder reliability...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Jeffrey R Lax, Justin H Phillips, Alissa F Stollwerk
Public opinion polls consistently show that a growing majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. Critics, however, raise the possibility that these polls are plagued by social desirability bias, and thereby may overstate public support for gay and lesbian rights. We test this proposition using a list experiment embedded in the 2013 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. List experiments afford respondents an anonymity that allows them to provide more truthful answers to potentially sensitive survey items...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Yanna Krupnikov, Spencer Piston
A good deal of scholarship examines the effects of prejudice against blacks on public opinion and vote choice in the United States. Despite producing valuable insights, this research largely ignores the attitudes of Latinos-a critical omission, since Latinos constitute a rapidly growing share of the population. Using two nationally representative survey data sets, we find that the level of racial prejudice is comparable for Latinos and non-Hispanic whites. Equally comparable are associations between prejudice and political preferences: policy opinion and support for Obama in the 2008 presidential election...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Eric Groenendyk
Affective Intelligence Theory (AIT) asserts that anxiety reduces the effect of party identification on candidate preferences (Marcus, Neuman, and MacKuen 2000), but recent studies have raised doubts about this causal claim. Rather than functioning as a moderator of party identification, perhaps anxiety has a direct effect on preferences, or perhaps the relationship is reversed and preferences drive emotions (Ladd and Lenz 2008). Alternatively, Marcus et al.'s measure of anxiety may simply be capturing partisan ambivalence, so the posited relationship is spurious (Lavine, Johnston, and Steenbergen 2012)...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Jason Barabas
Democratic responsiveness concerns the degree to which government policies match public preferences. Responsiveness studies typically use national surveys to characterize public opinion, but whether poll questions overlap with the policy agenda is unknown. The first of two empirical analyses presented here, with hundreds of issues on the national agenda in the United States from 1947 to 2000, reveals that public opinion is mostly unrelated to policy outcomes. The picture appears to be even more ominous-that is, opinion and policy are negatively related-on highly salient issues that attract media attention...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Leonardo Baccini, Laura Sudulich, Matthew Wall
This paper evaluates the influence of online news consumption on attitudes toward the European Union in a context of protracted economic crisis. Using data from the 2011 Irish National Election Study, we combine location-specific information on broadband availability with respondent geo-location data, which facilitates causal inference about the effects of online news consumption via instrumental variable models. Results show that Irish citizens who source political information online are more prone to blame the EU for the poor state of the economy than those who do not...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Michael F Schober, Josh Pasek, Lauren Guggenheim, Cliff Lampe, Frederick G Conrad
Demonstrations that analyses of social media content can align with measurement from sample surveys have raised the question of whether survey research can be supplemented or even replaced with less costly and burdensome data mining of already-existing or "found" social media content. But just how trustworthy such measurement can be-say, to replace official statistics-is unknown. Survey researchers and data scientists approach key questions from starting assumptions and analytic traditions that differ on, for example, the need for representative samples drawn from frames that fully cover the population...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Juliane Corman, David Levin
Since the 1930s, US politicians have argued about whether healthcare should be the responsibility of the federal government. Both major political parties have cited public opinion concerning Americans' support for or rejection of government provision of healthcare to support their position. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, however, the political debate has changed. Where it had been about the government provision of healthcare as an abstract principle, it became a debate imbued with evaluations of the implementation of the ACA itself...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Beth E Schueler, Martin R West
This study examines the role of information in shaping public opinion in the context of support for education spending. While there is broad public support for increasing government funding for public schools, Americans tend to underestimate what is currently spent. We embed a series of experiments in a nationally representative survey administered in 2012 (n = 2,993) to examine whether informing citizens about current levels of education spending alters public opinion about whether funding should increase...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Julianna Pacheco, Rebecca Kreitzer
The stability of abortion opinions suggests that pre-adult factors influence these attitudes more than contemporaneous political events. Surprisingly, however, we know little about the origins of abortion opinions, no doubt because the majority of research focuses on cross-sectional analyses of patterns across cohorts. We use a developmental model that links familial and contextual factors during adolescence to abortion attitudes years later when respondents are between 21 and 38 years old. Findings show that religious adherence and maternal gender role values are significant predictors of adult abortion opinions, even after controlling for contemporaneous religious adherence and the respondents' own views on gender roles...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Solomon Messing, Maria Jabon, Ethan Plaut
There is strong evidence linking skin complexion to negative stereotypes and adverse real-world outcomes. We extend these findings to political ad campaigns, in which skin complexion can be easily manipulated in ways that are difficult to detect. Devising a method to measure how dark a candidate appears in an image, this paper examines how complexion varied with ad content during the 2008 presidential election campaign (study 1). Findings show that darker images were more frequent in negative ads-especially those linking Obama to crime-which aired more frequently as Election Day approached...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
Timothy B Gravelle
Illegal immigration is a contentious issue on the American policy agenda. To understand the sources of public attitudes toward immigration, social scientists have focused attention on political factors such as party identification; they have also drawn on theories of intergroup contact to argue that contact with immigrants shapes immigration attitudes. Absent direct measures, contextual measures such as respondents' ethnic milieu or proximity to salient geographic features (such as borders) have been used as proxies of contact...
2016: Public Opinion Quarterly
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