The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology)

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9780521407861: The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology)
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In this book John Zaller develops a comprehensive theory to explain how people acquire political information from the mass media and convert it into political preferences. Using numerous specific examples, Zaller applies this theory in order to explain the dynamics of public opinion on a broad range of subjects, including both domestic and foreign policy, trust in government, racial equality, and presidential approval, as well as voting behavior in U.S. House, Senate and Presidential elections. Particularly perplexing characteristics of public opinion are also examined, such as the high degree of random fluctuations in political attitudes observed in opinion surveys and the changes in attitudes due to minor changes in the wording of survey questions.

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A comprehensive theory to explain how people acquire political information from the mass media and convert it into political preferences is developed and applied to the dynamics of public opinion on a broad range of subjects.

Review:

"...this is an impressive and important book with broad implications." Communication Theory

"John Zaller's volume makes sense of a diverse interdisciplinary body of work...He manages to deal in depth with most of the relevant work currently going on in political science, psychology, and sociology, and courageously wrestles with hard questions and faces up to conflicting findings." William J McGuire, Yale University

"Zaller's volume is a giant step forward in the development of a systematic understanding of the dynamics of public opinion. This is a splendid contribution." Philip E. Converse, Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences

"John Zaller has produced a truly wonderful book. It is, first, a model of what social science can be at its finest. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion reshapes the field in ways that will reverberate throughout the study of public opinion, elections, and the relationship between elites and the mass public for decades." John Aldrich, Duke University

"Zaller's book is the most significant contribution to the scientific study of public opinion in almost three decades. It reflects vast knowledge, deep insight, and exemplary craftsmanship, weaving together theory and data, mass and elite, and psychology and politics with remarkable elegance and authority." Larry M. Bartels, Princeton University

"John Zaller has written the single most important book on public opinion since V. O. Key's 1961 classic, Public Opinion and American Democracy....Zaller offers a well-developed theory, supported by considerable data and methodological sensitivity. Overall, the book is well written and clearly organized, and it provides social scientists with the clearest model to date that explains both the nature and origins of mass opinion." Henry C. Kenski, Contemporary Sociology

"...a simple but elegant deductive model of the process by which individuals answer questions about public opinion... Zaller has written a classic." Journal of Politics

"...the style and focus of this research program is strikingly different from the norm of public opinion studies...This is perhaps the best book ever written about public opinion. It starts with elegant encompassing theory and goes on to make sense of everything we know, including numbers of stray -thought-to-be-unrelated -findings that all blend together into a coherent whole." James Stimson, American Political Science Review

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Book Description CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, United Kingdom, 1992. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this 1992 book John Zaller develops a comprehensive theory to explain how people acquire political information from elites and the mass media and convert it into political preferences. Using numerous specific examples, Zaller applies this theory to the dynamics of public opinion on a broad range of subjects, including domestic and foreign policy, trust in government, racial equality, and presidential approval, as well as voting behaviour in U.S. House, Senate, and presidential elections. The thoery is constructed from four basic premises. The first is that individuals differ substantially in their attention to politics and therefore in their exposure to elite sources of political information. The second is that people react critically to political communication only to the extent that they are knowledgeable about political affairs. The third is that people rarely have fixed attitudes on specific issues; rather, they construct preference statements on the fly as they confront each issue raised. The fourth is that, in constructing these statements, people make the greatest use of ideas that are, for various reasons, the most immediately salient to them. Zaller emphasizes the role of political elites in establishing the terms of political discourse in the mass media and the powerful effect of this framing of issues on the dynamics of mass opinion on any given issue over time. Seller Inventory # AAS9780521407861

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Book Description CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, United Kingdom, 1992. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this 1992 book John Zaller develops a comprehensive theory to explain how people acquire political information from elites and the mass media and convert it into political preferences. Using numerous specific examples, Zaller applies this theory to the dynamics of public opinion on a broad range of subjects, including domestic and foreign policy, trust in government, racial equality, and presidential approval, as well as voting behaviour in U.S. House, Senate, and presidential elections. The thoery is constructed from four basic premises. The first is that individuals differ substantially in their attention to politics and therefore in their exposure to elite sources of political information. The second is that people react critically to political communication only to the extent that they are knowledgeable about political affairs. The third is that people rarely have fixed attitudes on specific issues; rather, they construct preference statements on the fly as they confront each issue raised. The fourth is that, in constructing these statements, people make the greatest use of ideas that are, for various reasons, the most immediately salient to them. Zaller emphasizes the role of political elites in establishing the terms of political discourse in the mass media and the powerful effect of this framing of issues on the dynamics of mass opinion on any given issue over time. Seller Inventory # AAS9780521407861

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