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Description - Hard Choices, Easy Answers by R. Michael Alvarez

Those who seek to accurately gauge public opinion must first ask themselves: why are certain opinions highly volatile while others are relatively fixed? Why are some surveys affected by question wording or communicative medium while others seem immune? In this text, R. Michael Alvarez and John Brehm develop a theory of response variability that, by reconciling the strengths and weaknesses of the standard approaches, should help pollsters and scholars alike better resolve such perennial problems. Working within the context of US public opinion, they contend that the answers Americans give rest on a variegated structure of political predispositions - diverse but widely shared values, beliefs, expectations and evaluations. Alvarez and Brehm argue that respondents deploy what they know about politics (often little) to think in terms of what they value and believe. Working with sophisticated statistical models, they offer an analysis of not just what a respondent is likely to choose, but also how variable those choices would be under differing circumstances. American public opinion can be characterized in one of three forms of variability, conclude the authors: ambivalence, equivocation

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691096353
ISBN-10: 069109635X
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 152mm x mm)
Pages: 264
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - R. Michael Alvarez

R. Michael Alvarez is Professor of Political Science at the California Institute of Technology and the author of "Information and Elections". John Brehm is Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of "The Phantom Respondents" and the coauthor of "Working, Shirking, and Sabotage".

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