New Directions in Public Opinion

Edited by Adam J. Berinsky

© 2012 – Routledge

320 pages

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Paperback: 9780415885294
pub: 2011-08-23
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About the Book

The field of public opinion is one of the most diverse in political science. Over the last 60 years, scholars have drawn upon the disciplines of psychology, economics, sociology, and even biology to learn how ordinary people come to understand the complicated business of politics. But much of the path breaking research in the field of public opinion is published in journals, taking up fairly narrow questions one at a time and often requiring advanced statistical knowledge to understand these findings. As a result, the study of public opinion can seem confusing and incoherent to undergraduates. To engage undergraduate students in this area, a new type of textbook is required.

New Directions in Public Opinion brings together leading scholars to provide an accessible and coherent overview of the current state of the field of public opinion. Each chapter provides a general overview of topics that are at the cutting edge of study as well as well-established cornerstones of the field. Suitable for use as a main textbook or in tandem with a lengthier survey, it comprehensively covers the topics of public opinion research and pushes students further to explore critical topics in contemporary politics.


"New Directions in Public Opinion is an amazing collection that will inform students of the history, evolution, and state of the art in public opinion research. It will undoubtedly become a classic text educating the next generation of students."

Jamie Druckman, Northwestern University

"Berinsky and his contributors have done an amazing job! New Directions in Public Opinion has no peer when it comes to combining cutting-edge research with a broad overview of public opinion scholarship. Students will like the book for its fresh approach for examining the role of citizenship; their professors will love it even more for its analytical approach to the study of politics."

Scott McClurg, Southern Illinois University

"Berinsky’s new edited volume on public opinion hits all the right notes. He has enlisted many of the top scholars in the field to write accessibly about enduring controversies and emerging issues. This book will be a remarkable resource for students and public opinion experts for many years to come. I know I will assign it for my classes."

Vincent L. Hutchings, University of Michigan

"This is a much needed resource for professors seeking to expose their students to cutting-edge research covering the diversity of the field of public opinion in a clear and insightful way that does not short-change recent innovation. The well crafted pairing of topical overviews with discussions of recent research and ongoing debates is both accessible and engaging."

Erika Franklin Fowler, Wesleyan University

"New Directions in Public Opinion promises to be required reading for students and analysts of public opinion alike. Berinsky has assembled a first-rate team of scholars, who provide intellectual coherence to a field which has become chaotic and fragmented in recent years. This work is likely to become a standard source in the area of mass politics in the United States."

Ted G. Jelen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

"Bringing together leading experts in the field, this book presents an excellent overview of the most important topics in public opinion. Bridging the gap between textbook and reader, Berinsky’s book will help students efficiently navigate the vast world of public opinion research."

Dana Wittmer, Ohio State University

"New Directions in Public Opinion represents an innovative approach for an undergraduate text. Specifically, it will help students understand public opinion by introducing them to cutting-edge research by leading scholars in an accessible manner."

Heather Ondercin, Louisiana State University

Table of Contents

Introduction Adam Berinsky Part 1: The Meaning and Measurement of Public Opinion Chapter One: The History and Meaning of Public Opinion Susan Herbst Chapter Two: The Practice of Survey Research: Changes and Challenges D. Sunshine Hillygus Chapter Three: Two-thirds full? Citizen Competence and Democratic Governance Martin Gilens Part 2: Foundations of Political Preferences Chapter Four: Ideology and Public Opinion Christopher M. Federico Chapter Five: Partisanship and Polarization Marc Hetherington Chapter Six: Race and the Group Bases of Public Opinion Jane Junn, Tali Mendelberg and Erica Czaja Chapter Seven: Categorical Politics: Gender, Race, and Public Opinion

Nancy Burns and Donald Kinder Chapter Eight: A Jump to the Right, A Step to the Left: Religion and Public Opinion David E. Campbell, Geoffrey C. Layman and John C. Green Chapter Nine: The Emotional Foundations of Democratic Citizenship Ted Brader Chapter Ten: Personality and Public Opinion Jeffery J. Mondak and Matthew V. Hibbing Part 3: The Public and Society Chapter Eleven: Campaigns and Elections John Sides and Jake Haselswerdt Chapter Twelve: Media and Politics Matthew Baum Chapter Thirteen: Public Opinion and Public Policy Andrea Louise Campbell Conclusion: Assessing Continuity and Change David O. Sears

About the Editor

Adam J. Berinsky is Professor of Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the MIT Political Experiments Research Lab. He has received numerous awards for his research.

About the Series

New Directions in American Politics

The Routledge series New Directions in American Politics is composed of contributed volumes covering key areas of study in the field of American politics and government. Each title provides a state-of-the-art overview of current trends in its respective subfield, with an eye toward cutting edge research accessible to undergraduate students. While the volumes reflect all the main topics of relevant study, rather than cover the dry "nuts and bolts" of the subject they instead engage readers through intriguing puzzles and relevant questions that tie into your syllabus. The most recent scholarship, real-world controversies, and theoretical debates come alive in these volumes, getting students excited about the same issues that animate scholars.

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