Public opinion theory and research are becoming increasingly significant in modern societies as people's attitudes and behaviors become ever more volatile and opinion poll data becomes ever more readily available. This major new Handbook is the first to bring together into one volume the whole field of public opinion theory, research methodology, and the political and social embeddedness of polls in modern societies. It comprehensively maps out the state-of-the-art in contemporary scholarship on these topics.

With over fifty chapters written by distinguished international researchers, both academic and from the commercial sector, this Handbook is designed to:

Give the reader an overview of the most important concepts included in and surrounding the term ‘public opinion’ and its application in modern social research; Present the basic empirical concepts for assessing public opinion and opinion changes in society; Provide an overview of the social, political and legal status of public opinion research, how it is perceived by the public and by journalists, and how it is used by governments; Offer a review of the role and use of surveys for selected special fields of application, ranging from their use in legal cases to the use of polls in marketing and campaigns.

The SAGE Handbook of Public Opinion Research provides an indispensable resource for both practitioners and students alike.

Effects of the News Media on Public Opinion

Hans MathiasKepplinger

The term opinion is used to express at least two different meanings. On the one hand, it denotes an appraising comment about a person, an animal or a thing. An example for this is the statement ‘I have a good opinion of….’ On the other hand, it denotes an uncertain assertion of a fact. An example for this is the statement ‘In my opinion, it is going to rain.’ In the following overview, both meanings are used. Because opinion here also indicates the uncertain assertions of facts, the term is sometimes replaced by terms like cognition or knowledge used in the literature cited. The term public opinion therefore describes appraising judgments concerning reality and/or uncertain ideas ...

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