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.

Public Opinion and the Economy

Lutz M.Hagen

The economy, in the broadest sense, comprises all actions and institutions driven by the intention to overcome scarcity. In a narrower sense, the concept refers to the production, consumption, and exchange of goods and services that are traded for money on markets. It is in this sense that ‘the economy’ has established itself as a permanently salient issue of public discourse—particularly concerning its state and growth. The reasons for this can be found in its paramount individual and political relevance in combination with the highly decentralized, complex and hard to control structure and dynamics of modern market economies.

Public opinion, consequently, is frequently driven by economic issues and considerations. Public opinion research has therefore developed the concepts of consumer confidence ...

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