Journalism | Public Opinion
J423 | 17162 | RSTR Lars Willnat

09:30A-10:45A   TR     EP 205
(cr. 3)
This course examines the nature of public opinion in contemporary American politics. We will
discuss how to conceptualize and measure public opinion, where opinions or attitudes “come
from,” how people arrived at a vote choice on Election Day, the role of the media in the
formation of public opinion, and whether public opinion affects policymaking. In so doing, we
will explore whether the roles and functions that opinion surveys and other indicators of
public opinion have assumed in American politics are appropriate to their limitations as
channels of public opinion. One overarching goal is to help you become a more discerning
consumer of public opinion data, so that when you encounter references to public opinion in
the news or in a campaign or in politics generally, you will be able to evaluate whether these
references are truthful, incomplete, fraudulent, etc.