Polling America

An Encyclopedia of Public Opinion, 2nd Edition

by Richard L. Clark, Kelly N. Foster, Benjamin Radcliff, and Samuel J. Best, Editors


Public confidence in polling has declined at the same time that polling accuracy has steadily improved.

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Cover image for Polling America

March 2020


Pages 756
Volumes 2
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/U.S. Public Policy and Administration
  Current Events and Issues/New Media and Journalism
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This work provides an authoritative overview of the composition of public opinion in America, the methodologies by which public opinion is measured, and the importance of polling to U.S. politics, policy, and culture.

This revised edition is a comprehensive resource for understanding all aspects of public opinion polling in the United States, including major and emerging theories and concepts; historical and current methodologies; political, journalistic, and corporate uses; landmark events and developments in the history of polling; and influential people and organizations. The encyclopedia also illuminates how public opinion polling has become important in shaping the trajectory of American society and the views that Americans have about themselves and their fellow citizens.

Specific big-picture topics explored within the pages of this encyclopedia include how data mining of internet and social media usage trends has shaped modern political and business advertising campaigns; the impact of politically partisan media outlets on public opinion; and attitudes of various sectors of the American electorate about diverse topics including gun control, abortion, immigration, marijuana legalization, and the nation's two main political parties.


  • Contains 200 new or revised entries on various aspects and impacts of public opinion polling
  • Shows American polling trends over the years on major political issues through informative tables, graphs, and charts
  • Makes it easy for the reader to explore connections between terms with cross-referenced entries
  • Features contributions from the foremost experts in the fields of polling and public opinion
  • Includes an appendix of major polling centers, organizations, and archives
Author Info

Richard L. Clark, PhD, is professor of political science at Castleton University, Castleton, Vermont. He has spent a career in academia conducting state and local polls as director of the Castleton Polling Institute and as manager of the Survey Research and Program Evaluation Unit at the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Kelly N. Foster, PhD, is associate professor of sociology at East Tennessee State University and director of the Applied Social Research Laboratory at ETSU. Her research interests are in survey research methodology and new technologies in research methods as well as engaging hard-to-reach populations and public and community health. Prior to coming to ETSU, she worked as a survey research professional at the University of Georgia's College of Public Health and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Benjamin Radcliff is professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is author or coauthor of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and a number of books, including The Political Economy of Human Happiness. He is coeditor of the journal Political Behavior.

Samuel J. Best is professor of political science, public opinion, and political behavior, and research director of the Center for Survey Research and Analysis, at the University of Connecticut.

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Why Don't Americans Vote? cover imageThe American Political Party System cover imageGun Politics in America cover image

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