public opinion

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    Education or knowledge? We need to rethink how we measure people’s understanding of politics

Education or knowledge? We need to rethink how we measure people’s understanding of politics

Researchers tend to rely on multiple choice tests to measure people’s political knowledge. Anna Killick explains why more open-ended interview methods could provide new insights, since people will have the chance to explain what they believe they know in their own words.

Since Philip Converse used survey techniques in the 1970s to demonstrate that the level of Americans’ political knowledge […]

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    The British are indifferent about many aspects of Brexit, and divided on several others

The British are indifferent about many aspects of Brexit, and divided on several others

Sara Hobolt and Thomas Leeper examined public opinion on various dimensions of Brexit using an innovative technique for revealing preferences. Their results suggest that while the public is largely indifferent about many aspects of the negotiations, Leave and Remain voters are divided on several key issues. 

Measuring public preferences is commonly approached through survey questionnaires, in which individuals express a […]

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    In defence of polls: A few high-profile misses should not overshadow the many times pollsters called it right

In defence of polls: A few high-profile misses should not overshadow the many times pollsters called it right

Polling companies were heavily criticised for failing to predict the results of the UK’s EU referendum and Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, but is this criticism fair? Abel Bojar draws on evidence from recent European elections to illustrate that opinion polls have a far better record of success than they’re given credit for.

Some professions are dealt a bad hand […]

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    Book Review: Uninformed: Why People Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It by Arthur Lupia

Book Review: Uninformed: Why People Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It by Arthur Lupia

Are citizens fundamentally uninformed – or even misinformed – when it comes to questions of politics and government? In Uninformed: Why People Knows So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It, Arthur Lupia tackles the issue of political ignorance by arguing that rather than simply seeking to provide greater information to the public on political issues, the […]

Though currently indifferent, young Germans may begin to reject the EU if economic conditions worsen

As part of our Euroscepticism collaboration, Britta Busse, Alexandra Hashem-Wangler and Jochen Tholen look at the attitudes of young Germans towards the EU. Using in-depth interviews, they find that while German youth are generally positive about European integration, they feel that the EU needs Germany more than Germany needs the EU. They also warn that a deterioration in the economic situation for German young people […]

Book Review: Exits, Voices and Social Investment: Citizens’ Reaction to Public Services

Over fifty years ago, Albert Hirschman argued that dissatisfied consumers could either voice complaint or exit when they were dissatisfied with goods or services. Loyal consumers would voice rather than exit. Hirschman argued that making exit easier from publicly provided services, such as health or education, would reduce voice, taking the richest and most articulate away and this would lead […]

Book Review: Opinion Polls and the Media: Reflecting and Shaping Public Opinion

Opinion Polls and the Media provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between the media, opinion polls, and public opinion. The contributors explore how the media use opinion polls in a range of countries across the world, and analyses the effects and uses of opinion polls by the public as well as political actors. Reviewed by Anthony Wells. Opinion Polls and the […]

Book Review: Don’t Take No for an Answer: The 2011 Referendum and the Future of Electoral Reform

As political scientists and commentators watch and wait for local election results to come in, what many will find most shocking, although not surprising, are the low voter turn out rates. It seems that the British public remain largely disinterested in elections, a problem also encountered in the 2011 referendum. Kerwin Datu reviews this recent book on the mistakes and delusions of the Yes […]