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Improving Public Opinion SurveysInterdisciplinary Innovation and the American National Election Studies$
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John H. Aldrich and Kathleen M. McGraw

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151458

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151458.001.0001

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Measuring Everyday Perceptions of the Distribution of the American Electorate

Measuring Everyday Perceptions of the Distribution of the American Electorate

(p.220) Chapter 13 Measuring Everyday Perceptions of the Distribution of the American Electorate
Improving Public Opinion Surveys

Charles M. Judd

Leaf Van Boven

Michaela Huber

Ana P. Nunes

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates perceptions of policy and partisan polarization through the use of an interactive histogram procedure (in which respondents were asked to raise and lower bars to reflect what they perceived to be the distribution of the public on some issue). The chapter discusses how respondents handled this task, as well as the reliability of the estimates it provided. Respondents were able to use this novel method to report their perceptions and to do so in ways that were not merely the result of projecting their own attitudes. The chapter then turns to a set of important issues in political perception that these data permit us to address.

Keywords:   policy polarization, partisan polarization, interactive histogram procedure, political perception, political psychology, histograms, histogram task

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