Public Opinion, the Media, and Social Issues

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter studies the characteristics that social issues have in common, as well as their implications for public opinion, and then takes a look at empirical efforts, in order to define the set of political debates that should be called social issues. The next section discusses the broad trends in opinion on social issues and considers how much media coverage of these issues has changed along with public opinion. It also discusses the three explanations for the sources of attitudes on social issues, their strengths, and the extent to which they suggest the etiology of public opinion on social issues is unusual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of American Public Opinion and the Media
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191728389
ISBN (Print)9780199545636
StatePublished - May 19 2011


  • Empirical efforts
  • Etiology
  • Media coverage
  • Political debates
  • Public opinion
  • Social issues
  • Sources of attitudes
  • Trends in opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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