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.

Agenda-Setting, Framing and Priming


Issues help to structure our perception of reality. They provide typical categories which organize our knowledge and our experiences in a larger semantic framework relevant for communication in society (Luhmann, 1970). This is true for the depiction of current events in the news media, where headlines and keywords clearly indicate the issues the respective coverage refers to. And it corresponds with the audience members' processing of news, which needs a principle to store and retrieve this information. Cognitive schemata emerge as a result of these mental networks, and very often they relate to the schemata applied by the news media and reproduced in media coverage (Brosius, 1991; Roessler, 1999).

This chapter focuses on three relevant concepts in the field of cognitive media ...

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