Numbered Voices How Opinion Polling Has Shaped American Politics

ISBN-10: 0226327434

ISBN-13: 9780226327433

Edition: N/A

Authors: Susan Herbst

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Description:

Quantifying the American mood through opinion polls appears to be an unbiased means for finding out what people want. But in Numbered Voices, Susan Herbst demonstrates that the way public opinion is measured affects the use that voters, legislators, and journalists make of it.Exploring the history of public opinion in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, Herbst shows how numbers served both instrumental and symbolic functions, not only conveying neutral information but creating a basis authority. Addressing how the quantification of public opinion has affected contemporary politics and the democratic process, Herbst asks difficult but fundamental questions about the workings of American politics."An original and thought-provoking analysis of why we have polls, what they accomplish, and how they affect the current political scene. Herbst's scholarship is impeccable, her writing is clear and crisp, and her findings are original. . . . Every reader will benefit by carefully weighing the issues she raises and the conclusions she draws."—Doris A. Graber, Political Science Quarterly"An intelligent, theoretically rich, and historically broad account of public opinion over several millennia. . . . The historical accounts are interesting and her interpretations are thought-provoking."—Paul Brace, Journal of American History
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Book details

List price: $33.00
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 8/15/1995
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 235
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Susan Herbst is president of the University of Connecticut. She previously served as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University System of Georgia, as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at SUNY-Albany, as dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University, and as a professor of political science and communication studies and chair of the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University.

Preface
Introduction
Quantification and Rationality
Numbers and Symbolic Politics
Techniques of Opinion Expression and Measurement
Partisan Politics and the Symbolic Use of Straw Polls, 1856-1936
Congressmen, Journalists, and Opinion Assessment, 1930-1950
Contemporary Public Opinion Research
Crowd Estimation and Public Opinion
Opinion Quantification and Democracy
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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